The result of an exceptional collaboration between the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Mobilier national, the Orria seat, designed by Patrick Jouin and developed jointly with the ARC, then published by Alki, equips the 160 seats in the BnF’s Oval Room. Orria is inspired by the space that houses it. With its architecture and the multitude of books that surround the reader, the Oval Room of the French National Library shows a real relationship to study, to the pages that are turned, to the precious and ancient books that are handled. We wanted this chair to match the grandeur of this room, while being discreet in its features and genuine in its choice of materials.

The idea was to take up the codes of the “Recoura” tables, in solid wood and linoleum, with pure lines that offer readers a comfortable setting to accompany them during their study. This solid wood chair is on the borderline between tradition – represented by the oval room, its furniture and its restored woodwork – and modernity brought about by its distinctive silhouette, its soft lines and its 5-axis machining technique. The black leather seat and backrest echo the black linoleum of the Recoura tables, while providing flexibility for extended use.

The very essence of the design can be seen in the armrests. Natural supports for the leather backrest, they are rounded and extend to connect to the back legs, creating a belt that articulates the whole. Structural and aesthetic, this assembly detail also marks the grip area for intuitive use of the chair. These cantilevered armrests provide comfort for readers. They also allow maintenance staff to easily place the chair on the tabletop without having to lift it completely.

As a designer, our role is to provide an object that serves not only the user, but also all those who interact with it. Orria is a testament to this desire to anchor an object in its daily life, in its use. Every day, it receives hundreds of readers, and our proposal had to take into account its uses, respecting those who use it as a seat and those who lift it morning and evening to maintain the room.

The craftsmanship of the Atelier de Recherche et Création du Mobilier National, the prototyping work carried out, followed by the large-scale development of the Basque manufacturer Alki, and its expertise in woodworking, allow us to propose a piece that links the French tradition of carpentry with that of the avant-garde of contemporary craftsmanshi


Model: Orria

Designer: Patrick Jouin  

Editor: Alki 

Origin: Pays Basque 

Material: solid wood and leather 


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