The Results are now in

After three rounds of voting (expert panel, public vote and Project Board), we are pleased to be able to announce the winners of the Competition. There is an overall winner and two joint second equals.

The purpose of this competition is that the final chosen seating should become part of the attraction of the Cemetery. We want it to reflect the nature of this special place and be a source of interest and enjoyment to all our visitors.

Voting via this website closed at midnight on 31st January GMT.

1st – Cruciform Bench by Andrew Ingham (London)

“A nice minimalist design, economical and contemporary, with the cruciform structure hinting at religious influences on the site. A potential candidate for the Garden of Remembrance?”

View Bench

2nd – Family Seat by Ania khodabakhshian (Iran)

“A potentially beautiful and magical piece, once the structural aspects have been fully developed.”

View Bench

2nd – Human Hive by Ivana Linderova (London)

“With its reflective/lit qualities, the seat, developed into a more robust construction, would be an attractive feature in the cemetery, associated with the beehive and connotations of a complex, interwoven society.”

View Bench

Although there were a number of contenders, none of the Composite Schemes was selected by all three strands of voting as an outright winner. The prize money has therefore been awarded to the three most outstanding single bench entries.

The Cruciform bench was popular across all three rounds, and was the majority choice for the Project Board.

The Joint Second winners are the two highest scoring single benches from the public vote (Family Seat) and expert panel (Human Hive).

The Nightingale and the Glow Worm
The expert panel particularly liked this scheme calling it ‘beautiful, with interesting poetic references and brickwork ‘singing’ to Berkhamsted.’

Bench Scapes
This scheme was praised for it being a beautifully presented and sensitively handled concept, with the ‘seats’ integrated into their settings, though requiring more development

Haptic & Perceptible
This scheme was considered to be a nice minimal concept with a well-ordered family of designs, although the degree to which these related to the Cemetery was questioned.

A Seat on the Horizon
The judges were impressed by the considerable effort taken to put the submission together; whilst some of the benches were of merit, they did not form a cohesive group, reflecting and relating specifically to the cemetery itself and the one that represents the existing memorial on its side, was felt to be ill-considered.

A Seat to Remember
This was commended both for the amount of work that had been put into the presentation as well as being a good effort with an engaging, understandable concept; the degree of comfort was queried, as was the impact of wear and tear on the ‘green’ elements of the design.

Bridge of Memories
The judges thought this bench might have potential if its form and construction were refined, but iiked the use of flint in this local context.

Light & Heavy
The judges considered the bench to be nicely designed; however, the design did not resonate with, and might be too delicate for the Cemetery.

Fallen Still
The judges thought this was an interesting design in re-using the oak tree- and perhaps could be developed further.

A Bench for Everyone
The judges liked the playful and imaginative approach but did not consider the seat to be appropriate in this cemetery setting.

Voroni Bench
The judges enjoyed the bench conjuring ideas of chopped wood and tree trunks using technology, but thought that the seat could have employed varying heights to provide a more visually attractive piece

Memory Circle
The judges thought this had promise, but required more thought regarding the design, especially in the use of radial bricks

As £2000 had been allocated for a composite scheme, it would seem right that we expended the total amount also on the single bench entries, hence the £1000 first prize and 2 x £500 each for the joint second prize. The distribution of money thus reflects the 50/25/25 split between the three strands of voting.

52 entries were received, some local but also from all over the world, including Chile, Italy, Germany, India, New York, Portugal, Malaysia, Russia, Iran, France, Spain.

With so many cultural influences informing the designs, the Rectory Lane Cemetery Project has, as part of the Lottery Funded Development Phase of the Project, learnt so much about the possibilities for creating an exciting seat sculpture trail in the Cemetery,

We now eagerly await the final decision as to whether the Lottery will be providing the capital funding for the Project. If successful, we shall be investigating the potential for turning the winning entries into real seats. Equally, even if a prize has not been won, we may be contacting individual entrants to develop their designs further when we come to planning and installing all the benches on the site.

Given the rich variety of entries, it has been a challenging choice and we are sincerely grateful to all the participants for sharing their marvellous visions for the provision of seating in this sensitive site.

We are also grateful to all those who took part in the selection:
a) the expert panel:

  • Hugo Hardy, RIBA
  • Jonathon Wong, RIBA
  • Adrian Morrow, RIBA
  • Peter Ellsworth (Berkhamsted Chamber of Commerce)

b) all those (1806 votes cast) who responded to the public vote
c) to members of the Project Board.
All entrants will shortly be receiving feedback on their submissions.