Wychwood School Oxford


Project Case Study: Wychwood School Oxford

Project Type: Education


Rhubarb has worked with many schools and colleges over the years and seating for education settings of all types has always been a core focus for us.  Our association with Wychwood has been long-standing and we have completed several projects for them, most recently the design and furnishing of several new spaces created during the recent refurbishment of the school as well as the supply of chairs for all the classrooms throughout the school.  We were asked to guide everything from the use of the various spaces and how best to arrange them to the selection of appropriate seating and fabrics for each of the areas.

To Deliver:

  • Sofas, armchairs and visitor chairs and tables for the new Head’s office and waiting area that create a strong and positive first impression for parents and other visitors to the school.

  • Sofas, armchairs and lounge chairs for the large reception area which have a consistent design and style to the Head’s Office and provide a comfortable and stylish area for visitors, staff and pupils to meet, chat and relax.

  • Sixth Form and Boarding Common Room spaces for the students to socialise, relax and collaborate as well as having quiet areas for study.

  • Re-upholstered chairs for the library and other areas.

  • Classroom chairs which provide comfort and support as well as style.

  • Appropriate tables for the Head’s Office and reception areas.

  • Quality, comfortable and robust seating to withstand the challenges of a school environment while at the same time creating the right impression and an inviting feel for the lounge and communal areas.

Project Scope:

Working closely with the Head, Jane Evans, and the Director of Operations, Duncan Radnor, we created seating proposals for each area that took into consideration their exact requirements for both the use of the space and the functionality, comfort and durability of the furniture.

We were very conscious of their desire to create spaces that had a certain “wow” factor while at the same time being furnished with pieces that are designed and made with the demands of a school at front of mind.  Our Hoxton sofas and armchairs in the Head’s Office and receptions areas, complemented by Lisbon lounge chairs, provided exactly the right mix of luxury and homely style; the Marna sofas, Beanbag 2.0 and Stella units in the Sixth Form and Boarding spaces have gone down a storm with the students; and the Mata cantilever chairs for the classrooms have been universally praised by the staff for their flexibility and comfort.

How we delivered:

Our in-house design team provided 2D and 3D space plans which ensured that the Head and the Director of Operations were able to properly visualise what we were proposing and also enabled us to play around with the various configurations to arrive at exactly the solution they were looking for.

We advised on the selection of suitable fabrics for each area, while at the same time working within the necessary budget.  Panaz Luxe Velvet provided the necessary softness for the Hoxton sofas and armchairs in Head’s Office and reception areas, with Malone Gatsby to provide an eye-catching contemporary “pop” to the backs of the Lisbon lounge chairs against the practicality of the Chieftain Just Colour vinyl on the seats.  Panaz Highland was the choice for all the student areas – its durability made it an obvious candidate but its broad colour palette, texture and feel sealed its selection.

The school had a sizeable number of wood-frame chairs which were in good condition but the upholstery and foams were very worn and dirty so we offered to re-upholster them all and give them a new lease of life. They are now in use in a number of areas in the school and we are expecting to transform a further batch from the staff room in the New Year
As always with school projects, it was a juggling act between the inevitable delays on the building works and the immovable target of the start of the new school year but we remained flexible with our production and delivery schedules to ensure that the school had what they needed, when they needed it.


“Rhubarb has worked with Wychwood School for a number of years, supplying very high quality furniture for both our teaching and social spaces. Most recently, we engaged Rhubarb to advise on the design and fit out of our brand new Sixth Form centre and Boarding space, as part of a half million pound building project in Summer 2023.

Rhubarb’s team were incredibly professional, understood our vision for the space and were able to turn this vision into design schemes and recommendations that we worked with them on to configure and equip the space. The furniture is of high-quality, standing up to the rigours of school life, and our students are thrilled with their new spaces. ”

Duncan Radnor – Director of Operations, Wychwood School Oxford.