14 June 2012
The winners of the Design a Church Chair!
competition were announced by the Bishop of London today at an
awards ceremony held at St John's Church, Hyde Park, London.
The winners in the first category, which was for students and
recent graduates, who will receive £1000, wereNick Shurey and
Sebastian Klawiter (University of Bath). Nick and Sebastian said:
"It was a real honour to have been involved, and we're ecstatic to
have won - it was a real surprise. We spent much time on
establishing our starting-point and then it was a last-minute dash
to get our initial design submitted by the deadline. A lot of
effort then went into working up the finished design.
"We had never worked together before, and hope we'll have
In category two, which was for design professionals, the
finalists included many of the top names in the design world. The
winner was Tomoko Azumi (TNA Design Studio). She said: "It was a
real privilege to have taken part in the competition, using my
knowledge of chair design in the context of church buildings
ancient and modern. I am really pleased to have had this
opportunity to help enhance the community's use of such
In the third category, for seats already in production, two
awards were given. One to Luke Hughes & Company for a stacking
bench and one to Simon Pengelly (Chorus) for a wooden stacking
chair. Nigel Shepherd of Luke Hughes commented: "I am thrilled to
have this design recognised in such a way. It is brilliant the way
this competition has drawn attention to the importance of good
design for furniture in churches."
Simon Pengelly commented: "I am honoured to have won in this
category. Too much church furniture is poorly designed and made.
This whole competition has been inspiring in what it is trying to
achieve in opening up awareness of the importance of design
Designs have been judged on their sympathy with historic church
interiors, affordability, functionality, comfort and aesthetic
merit. The ambition is for the best of these designs to go into
The judging panel was chaired by the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard
Chartres, Bishop of London, and included one of the country's
leading furniture designer and makers, John Makepeace,
architectural enthusiast and illustrator, Matthew Rice, chair of
the Church Buildings Council, Anne Sloman, and Vicar of St John's,
the Revd Stephen Mason.
Announcing the winners, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres,
Bishop of London, said: "The response to this competition has been
extraordinary. There is a need to open up our churches more and
more as community hubs for a great variety of purposes. We're in
this for permanency, for eternity, so our furnishings, while being
flexible, have to signal something of that as well.
"Our aims were very simple. We wanted to engage designers with
the potential that exists in a very flourishing church context; we
wanted to help parishes consider very carefully how they replace
pews when their removal has been agreed; we wanted to encourage the
highest possible standards of design in our churches; and we wanted
to widen the range of affordable as well as well-designed
John Makepeace OBE, furniture designer and maker, said:
"Furniture design is about linking people to the building they're
in. As society has become more sedentary, we have become dependent
on seating that provides better support than a flat seat and back.
Given the quality of our churches, we need chairs which are
comfortable, classically simple and enduring".
Anne Sloman OBE, Chair of the Church Buildings Council, said:
"The point of the competition has been to raise both the standard
of chairs going into churches to replace pews, and to highlight the
potential that churches have to offer the design community and
those just entering the profession. We have been thrilled
with the response, which has exceeded all expectations and
congratulate the winners for the skill and imagination they have
brought to the design brief."
ChurchCare website for further details.
The Design a Church Chair! competition was
launched in January. The first phase ended in April. The
judging panel received
well over 100 entries including several applications from
overseas and submissions from leading designers including Sir
Terence Conran. The overall quality was exceptional with designers
showing great interest in the challenges set by the brief.
Short-listed finalists were invited to submit models to the
exhibition and awards ceremony which has been held over the
duration of Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 June at St John's, Hyde
Thanks to Ecclesiastical Insurance, the All Churches Trust and
Howe UK who have sponsored the exhibition and the awards.
Seats should be:
to historic interiors,
robust for regular use and requiring minimal maintenance,
without depending on upholstery,
to historic floors,
- able to
stack or fold neatly and compactly,
and easy to lift,
- with the
option of linking and having a book-holder, arms, and a hook or
ledge for a kneeler,
for batch production.
The Judging Panel:
- The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
- John Makepeace
OBE - one of the country's leading furniture designers and
- Matthew Rice - illustrator and architectural enthusiast
- The Revd Stephen Mason - Vicar of St John's, Hyde
- Anne Sloman OBE - Chair, Church Buildings Council
Category 1: Design a chair to retail under £100, open to
students & recent graduates.
The Howe Prize
- Ian Smith
(Foundation degree, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, 2011)
- Luke White (MA in Design, University of Plymouth, 2010)
- Harry Owen (MA in
Furniture Design, Bucks New University, 2011)
- Nick Shurey (BSc in Architecture, University of Bath, 2010) and
- Marie Blanchot (Licence and Master in Architecture, Ecole
National Superieure D'architecture de Bretagne, France, 2009)
Category 2: Design a chair
to retail under £200, open to all.
The All Churches Trust Prize
Category 3:A seat (bench or chair) already in
The Ecclesiastical Insurance Prize