The University of Oxford’s Manor Road Building, designed by Sir Norman Foster, is home to several units of the Social Sciences Division and the unified Social Science Library. Overlooking the adjacent River Cherwell, the four-story building is arranged around a central atrium and provides a variety of spaces including an auditorium, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, common areas, staff offices, and a canteen.
As a world leader in research across the social science disciplines, the facilities provided play an important role in the student experience and their learning outcomes. Working with TOP-TEC, the University has refurbished the IT Room located on the 2nd floor, reconfiguring it to support bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and no longer has individual IT equipment provided in the room. Rows of 3-seat power supply benches are arranged to face the front. This allows the room to be utilised for presentations and seminars if required, for which lecterns, height-adjustable desks, screens, and projectors are provided. KI’s Strive task chairs have been selected to provide mobile, height-adjustable ergonomic seating for space.
Chosen for their simple, yet elegant design, these chairs were specified with a black base and warm grey poly shell to complement the room’s calm, clean and focussed feel. In addition to these Strive task chairs, matching Learn2 chairs with Strive seat shells were also selected to provide students or presenters with additional, more flexible and collaborative seating. Learn2’s ambidextrous, large, swiveling tablet arm also accommodates different writing styles and better collaborative working. Its under-seat storage allows the user to keep their bags and materials close to hand and off the ground, reducing clutter and trip hazards. All chairs have been enhanced for extra comfort with upholstered seat pads.
Simon Ferguson, Sales Director at TOP-TEC comments: "The University’s brief for this space was to be collaborative, interactive, flexible and comfortable. KI’s Strive seating complemented these requirements perfectly - very comfortable and robust, the chairs were also selected for their 15-year warranty."
Oto Velicka, project manager and deputy senior facilities manager at Oxford University, adds: "The Learn2 chairs give the space an added element of reconfigurability. The chair’s clever design adds excellent functionality with its storage rack and generous tablet arm, and being able to specify them with matching Strive seats allowed us to maintain a consistent aesthetic throughout."
About Strive seating:
Designed by Giancarlo Piretti, KI’s Strive seating collection is a wide family of simple, elegant, comfortable chair designs that are also available in a wide choice of polypropylene colours. All have a unique, flexible back with a wire rod inserted into the polypropylene to encourage movement and relaxation. The back curve provides lateral support and the contoured seat dissipates pressure points. This robust and comfortable seat shell is available in 4 legs, nesting, high-density stacking, stool, task chair, and task stool options.
About Learn2 seating:
KI’s Learn2 Chair is the perfect combination of a desk and chair designed to suit a variety of needs – it is functional, mobile and stylish. With its fully adjustable, dual-handed worksurface, the chair adapts to each user’s personal space and provides customised comfort. Learn2 is a student-focused chair and table which transforms learning environments. The writing tablet swivels 154 degrees and moves in/out for customised comfort and enhanced interaction whilst the support arm rotates right/left 220 degrees to accommodate any preferred position. Options include polypropylene or laminate writing tablets, castors or glides, upholstered seat pads, and accessory racks. There are four chair shell styles available – Intellect Wave, Strive, Doni and Grazie, each available in numerous standard colourways.
TOP-TEC has a rich manufacturing heritage, which began in 1957, providing engineering solutions for industrial businesses in the West Midlands. From that seed has grown the TOP-TEC range which is a leading supplier of secure workspace furnishing, AV and ICT security products. The company has continued to innovate and is now the market leader in collaborative furniture for education, as well as AV integrated lecterns. The company is owned and managed by MD Clive Beardmore, an engineer, and designer who has worked with the company since 1983. In an age of globalised and fractured supply chains, TOP-TEC continues to design and manufacture in the UK enabling the company to ensure the quality of products throughout the whole process and maintain a reputation as a high quality and cost-effective solution provider.
About University of Oxford Social Sciences
The Divisional Office supports academics and researchers, as well as the administrative functions in departments in areas such as educational provision, academic policy and quality assurance, research support, planning, and resource allocation, and the administration of academic appointments.