'Polo' chair, Robin Day

'Polo' chair, Robin Day

Caroline Lang, Sackler Centre Project Manager

With the building work well under way we're turning our attention to furniture this month. About two years ago Softroom, with the Project Team, listed all the furniture we would need for the different spaces in the Sackler Centre. This gave us an idea of the budget allocation and the numbers we could accommodate in each space but now it's time to look at this furniture in more detail. The lead time for ordering furniture is about 12 weeks so we'll need to do this towards the end of November. It's very important to think carefully about who will be using the spaces and what they will be doing.  Softroom checked our brief and presented their ideas to the Project Team yesterday. This was very exciting because at last it's possible to envisage the spaces as they will really look. Our overall brief was that we wanted the Centre to feel smart and contemporary, more arts centre than corporate or 'like school'. The overall idea is to use furniture by several different designers.

The Lunchrooms present a challenge because they need to be practical, flexible and suitable for a range of different uses. Mainly schools and families during the day but converted into more sophisticated space in the evenings for use by adults, students, young people and even corporate clients.  For the main Lunchroom they have suggested tables in several shades of green with simple benches, which gives us the maximum capacity for lunchtimes. The tables can be rolled into different positions for evening use. 'Polo' chairs, designed by Robin Day have been chosen for Lunchroom 2 and the Design Studio, this enables us to accommodate different numbers and layouts, adults and children of different shapes and sizes. Altogether this will give us the capacity for sittings of around 200 people at a time.

The Digital Studio has already had quite a bit of discussion. We want this space to feel high-tech but also work well for the large numbers who will use it. Softroom have proposed tables by Jasper Morrison. They have a good system for tidying away all the cables associated with computers but are a bit too big to give the flexibility we need so we are still looking at alternatives. The height adjustable version of the 'polo' chair will probably fit the bill in terms of seating for the Digital Studio.