Winning new Cathedra design unveiled

The design of the striking new Cathedra, the seat of the Bishop, has been revealed by Leicester Cathedral today.

Ahead of the reburial of King Richard III in March, the interior of Leicester Cathedral is undergoing a £2.5m re-ordering process.  As part of the work, a competitive design competition was run to design a new Cathedra.  It was won by Draisci Studio, London.

The contemporary design is made of Black American Walnut, decorated in coloured leather.  The modern seat is lightweight and mobile.  A high matching wooden cross completes the impressive design.

‘The Cathedra symbolises the Bishop’s role as chief teacher of the Christian faith and as the one who gathers the community for worship and celebration,’ said the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester.  ‘This new Cathedra speaks powerfully of the office of the Bishop with a long tradition behind it but also as having a contemporary task in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today’s world.’

Francesco Draisci, creative director of Draisci Studio, said: ‘We feel honoured to be selected to interpret this prestigious spiritual brief.  We aim at creating a timeless and universal design adding dynamic richness to the eclectic Cathedral.  The new Cathedra and the new Cross designs address dignity and status with rigour without being imposing, fusing together structural and ornamental concerns.’

Speaking about the chair that gives its name to the building, the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Montheith, says, ‘This striking Cathedra will communicate with great clarity the fundamental mission of the Cathedral.  Cathedrals in every generation are known for imaginative artistic design of great quality often breaking new imaginative ground.  Through this new commission we see a faith rooted in tradition and yet reaching out with great confidence to the people of our own generation.’

Architects for the reordering, van Heyningen and Haward, are administering the current contract for the building works that transform the Chancel (phase 1 of the reordering).  They are the designers of Richard III’s tomb and the new high altar, and the lead designers responsible for the overall coordination of the new display units, loose furniture, high altar and cathedra.

The new design (large picture below) will be installed in Leicester Cathedral in early March.

Cathedra and Cross