Foster + Partners presents the OVO series of chairs for Benchmark, a trio of seats made of solid oak and walnut, completing a larger collection of wooden furniture designs including tables, benches and shelving. The new additions to the OVO collection of furniture comprise an armchair, a stackable side chair, and a lounge chair, each crafted in solid European oak or American walnut

Chair design by Foster + Partners

Expressing both visual and tactile beauty, the collection originated from a single table design, later expanded into a full family of domestic furniture, and now including the three new chairs. 

The design is based on smooth joinery and soft geometries, resulting in a collection that is solid, timeless and durable, but that also invites touch. ‘We wanted it to be designed to express craft, to be tactile, natural,’ says Mike Holland, Foster + Partners’ head of industrial design, explaining that the chairs were conceived ‘from a rigorous and iterative process of making’.

Continues Holland: ‘The chair continues the OVO design philosophy, it celebrates the age-old tradition of craftsmanship in design objects. The pillowed surfaces invites the arms to rest softly, it really is an ergonomic detail that eliminates uncomfortable pressure points.’

Benchmark’s co-founder Sean Sutcliffe and team worked to achieve the tactility of the collection, combining traditional techniques with precise machinery. ‘As craftsmen, I think we all believe that our best tools are our hands, but there is no doubt that a 5-axis CNC machine comes a close second,’ he says. 

The chairs’ conception focused on both wellbeing, with an ergonomic design imagined for the body’s maximum comfort, and sustainability, something that Benchmark has been developing throughout its collections. ‘The only meaningful statements on sustainability are those that can be measured and verified,’ adds Sutcliffe, citing independently verified Environmental Product Declarations that demonstrate the cradle to grave environmental performance of the pieces. Each chair from the OVO collection, he explains, is carbon negative and manufactured to remain a carbon store for its entire life. 

Watch: the genesis of OVO chair by Foster + Partners for Benchmark