Buckinghamshire New University at ercol

The showroom of British manufacturers ercol hosted an exhibition of prototypes created for the brand by students from Buckinghamshire New University last month.


Top image: table and stool by William Dowsett: "the table remains static, holding its load while the stool can be moved around to fulfil different functions."

Students were asked to design furniture for the contract market which could be produced by ercol. One project, a wing-chair by Frank Flavell (above and below), was selected as the winner and a prototype of the chair was produced at the ercol factory.


Flavel intends the chairs to be used as a pair to create an intimate dining space within busy restaurants.


The students graduated from the BA(Hons) Contemporary Furniture course at the university last month. Many of the pieces will be on show again at New Designers Part 2 next week, 10th-13th July.

Above: the different chair-backs of James Plant's Odd Couples benches represent the individual characters of couples sitting next to each other at a restaurant.


The following information is from ercol:


ercol supports young design talent at Buckinghamshire New University

As part of an ongoing commitment to fostering young design talent, ercol has been working with final year students of Furniture Design, at Buckinghamshire New University in nearby High Wycombe, for the last three years.

Above and below: the Settle-table by Robbin Joe Murry transforms from a bench into a table.


Students on the Contemporary Furniture Design Course receive a brief from course tutor Neil Austen, to produce a design that could potentially be launched to market. This year’s theme was Contract Furniture, including furniture for restaurants and bars.

Below: side table by Frank Flavell


Students are invited to visit ercol and take part in the full factory tour at the beginning of the six week Professional Practice module. Three weeks later, members of the team at ercol’s Drawing Office visit the students at the University to view their models and drawings. At the end of the module, one design is chosen by ercol which is then produced as a prototype for the final year degree show.

Below: stacking chairs by James Moss


This year’s winning design was a contemporary take on the wing chair by Frank Flavell, inspired by the concept of creating an intimate environment in a restaurant, conducive to cross-table dinner conversations. The designs are all showcased at the University’s Degree Show and in mid-June, ercol hosted a weekend exhibition of the students’ work at the award-winning Princes Risborough factory.


According to ercol MD Edward Tadros, “Buckinghamshire has always been at the heart of the UK furniture industry and it is encouraging to see such a talented group of young designers graduating from our local university each year. We are proud to be involved in this initiative and play a part in fostering creativity and craftsmanship for the future”.


Above and below: long table for a hotel room by Nimmy Cass. "The drawer is left open so that on your last glance before you leave the hotel room you can be assured that you haven’t left anything behind," says Cass.


Below: Naoko Kanehira designed a sofa composed from large cushions.


Below: school chairs by Philip Hutfield. "Since the release of the poly prop, wooden chairs have been priced out of the contract market for schools," explains Hutfield.


"These ply-constructed chairs have been designed for CNC mass production as a new sustainable competitor."


Hutfield also designed a restaurant table (below), which expands from a rectangular table for four to a hexagonal table for six.


Below: panels in the Armadilo dressing table by James Patmore slide back to reveal storage for male grooming products.


Patmore describes the dresser as "an ambiguous piece of furniture with sufficient storage to meet the needs of the modern day metro-sexual."


Below: bar stool by David Jones.