Kathryn Sumroy's winning design will be displayed alongside a wider selection of the National School of Furniture's work.

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  • The winning entry in a Taylor Wimpey-funded design competition to create a piece of public art that reflects Chelmsford's industrial heritage is to be displayed at the Ideas Hub in Exchange Way, Chelmsford.

    Students from the National School of Furniture in Buckinghamshire were asked to design a bespoke piece of sculptural seating to be installed on the bank of the Chelmer and Blackwater canal at the house builder's Indigo Wharf development.

    Their challenge was to create an engaging work that represented the changing role of the canal and was influenced by the site's previous use as a timber yard. Kathryn Sumroy design was the winner. 

    Zoe Chamberlain, consultant artist, said: "As part of the Indigo Wharf development, Taylor Wimpey wanted to enhance the canalside in a way that would encourage people to enjoy their leisure time there, but which also identified strongly with the site's industrial past.

    "We gave this brief to the students at the National School of Furniture at Bucks New University and asked them to enter designs into a competition.

    "Eight entries were shortlisted and Kathryn Sumroy's work was chosen as the winner. The beautiful simplicity of her piece captured the site's previous use as a timber merchant's yard and also means people have a wonderful place to relax."

    Sumroy's winning design is composed of horizontally stacked lengths of timber, fanned out to create seats at different levels for people of all ages and sizes. The final piece has been approved by the local authority and is expected to be installed next year.

    "I was really pleased to find out that my design had been selected," says Sumroy, 45, who lives in Berkshire. "Having given up a successful career to study at the National School of Furniture, it was inevitable that I would have some nagging doubts about starting on a new path at this stage in my life.

    "But winning this competition has been a vindication of my decision - a real confidence builder as I look to develop a portfolio of this type of work.

    "My intent was to produce a design that would make people curious about the site and would inspire them to learn about its history, but which still functioned as a great place to sit and relax by the canalside.

    "This is my first commission, so I am really excited about seeing it installed and I am hugely grateful to Taylor Wimpey for giving all the students this fantastic opportunity and for showing such support for emerging talent.

    "Back in the early nineties, my first job for the BBC was at BBC Radio Essex in Chelmsford. The town seems to have been the key starting point in both my careers."

    Michael O'Leary, regional sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey, said: "The high standard of entry made judging the design competition extremely difficult, but eventually we agreed upon a clear winner.

    "We are delighted with Kathryn's work - she managed to perfectly capture every element of the brief and we are sure the final piece will prove a welcome addition to the vibrant, rejuvenated canalside at our Indigo Wharf development."

    Taylor Wimpey has a selection of one and two bedroom apartments for sale at Indigo Wharf, Chelmsford, from just £199,995. 

    Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. SmartNewHomes strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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