Seating system for the new 'open visit' centre at HMP Barlinnie, the UK's largest remand prison.
The brief from project architects Keppie asked for a design to accommodate seating for up to 4 people - 1 inmate and 3 visitors per group - and a surface for drinks etc. With particular concerns over the increased risk of drug-transfer, the seating solution had to be robust to withstand abuse in a potentially stressful/volatile environment and easy to maintain. A solution was proposed which took inspiration from the 'diner' booth, freeing us from the more obvious 4 chairs + 1 table format.
All parties sit on one 'bench'; the inmate subtly separated from the visitors by the table's vertical supporting 'wall', which intersects the seating surface and also prevents anything being passed below the table surface.A wraparound back rest provides a feeling of intimacy, cutaway at the intersection of inmate/visitor to ease supervision of this sensitive zone.
Arc was designed with fellow students Bob McCaffrey and Aidan Jamieson during the final year of our BA at Glasgow School of Art, and assembled and installed by us that summer: a nice way to conclude our studies, and as far as I know it is still in use today.