On Friday 27th May, Casala delivered 2200 new seats and 21 trolleys to Westminster Abbey in London – a showcase for the furniture manufacturer from Culemborg, The Netherlands. The delivery of the chairs follows two years of intensive collaboration with the Abbey and dealer partner Chart Area Seating.
Westminster Abbey were looking for a functional chair that also fitted in perfectly with the aesthetics, architecture and atmosphere of the Abbey. As Westminster Abbey had very different and specific needs, this was an excellent opportunity for Casala to develop a customised chair that perfectly met the expectations of the Abbey.
The Abbey defined the ideal chair in detail from an aesthetic point of view; implementation in oak veneer, the back rest engraved with the Westminster Abbey crest, with the timber parts stained with a predetermined colour that is candlewax resistant.
There was a need for proper storage and transport facilities, chair linking, a chair identification system and minimal noise during the transport and set up of the chairs. Working closely alongside the Abbey at every stage of the development of a chair that meets all of the specific requirements, Casala was able to assure Westminster Abbey of their ability to deliver a unique and tailor-made solution which would meet this broad set of criteria.
Custom made furniture
The Westminster Abbey chair is based on Casala’s proven Curvy chair. Onto this platform, however, customised options and features were added and modified to meet the Abbey’s requirements. Thus, the chairs are provided with subtle bump rubbers on both sides of the frame in order to prevent mutual sound transfer. The seat is also provided with rubber seals between the seat and the frame. Additionally, there is a sound-stack protection of felt mounted on the underside of the seat.
Each of these measures contribute to considerably reducing the sound created by the chairs during the storage and stacking procedures as well as when they are in use during services and ceremonies.
The Westminster Abbey crest is integrated in the back rest of the chair using a laser technique creating a subtle yet indelible reference to the chairs’ environment.
The Abbey also opted for Casala’s numbering and identification system Zifra, which has been recognised with five prestigious international design awards. Zifra is incorporated on the inside of the back rest.
Zifra does not require any batteries and offer numerous display options as well as row numbering, seat numbering, company logo display, or a combination of these. The standard Zifra platform provides for a range of characters and symbols to be displayed.
For Westminster Abbey Zifra has been expanded with additional character display options reflecting the wide range of visitors and guests who will attend services and events at the Abbey. If the displays are not required to provide information for the visitor, the Westminster Abbey crest is shown.
A customised trolley has also been developed for Westminster Abbey. This special unit has been developed to mitigate the uneven floor parts and the available storage capacity. This has resulted in a transport trolley with a storage capacity of 90 chairs.
Due to the large weight, in combination with the uneven floor, wheels with a large diameter were chosen in order to move the heavy transport dolly easily. The wheels are fitted with low-noise bearings and soft grip to protect the centuries-old Abbey floor.
The trolleys are fitted with soft bumpers on all sides, to prevent damage to the interior stonework of the Abbey. Each trolley is equipped with a cover, ensuring the chairs are protected against dust and other external influences.