Poltrona Frau Contract outfits new Spanish museum with new Circa auditorium chairs

The University of Navarra is a private pontifical university based at the southeast border of Pamplona, Spain. It was founded in 1952 by St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, as a corporate work of the apostolate of Opus Dei.

At the present time, there are nine research facilities in the University of Navarra: University Clinic of Navarra; Center for Applied Medical research; applied Pharmacobiology; Modern and Contemporary History; Technical investigations of Guipúzcoa; Biomedical investigation and Development; Nutrition and Bioengineering; Institute of Topical Medicine; and Institute for Culture and Society.

Now, a new museum has been built and will open in January 2015. The museum will, apart from housing an art and photography collection, also incorporate its performing arts activities. The art collection, considered as one of the greatest regarding contemporary Art of Spain, includes works by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and Wassily Kandinsky, among others, has been donated to the University by María Josefa Huarte Beaumont.

The architect in charge of the project is Pritzker prize winner (1996) Rafael Moneo. The museum has been designed as the common grounds between the different faculties, departments and schools, and it will represent a new centre of reference for the university.

Poltrona Frau Contract has supplied the auditorium chairs for the 692-seat auditorium for this extraordinary project. The chair has been designed personally by Rafael Moneo and was given the name Circa by Moneo.

The unique collaboration between the Spanish architect and Poltrona Frau goes back many years now: the first joint project was the Prado Museum extension. Subsequently Poltrona Frau has worked side by side with Moneo on many other extraordinary projects, such as the Toledo Congress Center and recently the Princeton University in New Jersey.


The auditorium covers an important part from the museum´s scenic program. Concerts, theatre, dance performances, conferences and academic events will be held inside. The 195-sqaure-metre stage has an orchestra pit with a bandshell, a rehearsal room and technicals such as 4k cinema projection for 3D, LED lighting and streaming audio recorder possibilities.

The chair model that has been chosen for the auditorium, Circa, combines a sophisticated design with function that appeals to those with high aesthetic standards. The seat and backrest are differently structured; while the seat back is in painted molded aluminium, the backrest is made from molded curved solid wood. This auditorium chair is another example of the unique craftsmanship and specific know-how of Poltrona Frau Contract in the development of fixed seating, providing tailor-made and highly personalized solutions meeting the highest acoustic requirements.

The museum building is divided into three floors covering a total of 11,000 square metres. It has 12 exhibition rooms, with an exhibition space of around 3,000 square metres, an auditorium with 692 seats, three workshops, a restaurant, a library, a classroom, two projection rooms, offices and warehouses, as well as the hall, the foyer, the lobbies and other amenities.

The design of the museum takes into account the entire context of the university. The museum is characterized by its multidisciplinary approach to art. As it will be constructed at the heart of the university, it will be surrounded by a variety of types of knowledge and learning, which will help to bring about research based on synergies. The museum plans to participate and implement learning programs in order to foment the university community and service the Navarre community.


José Rafael Moneo Vallés (born May 9. Tudela, Navarra,1937) is a Spanish architect. He won the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1996. He studied at the ETSAM, Technical University of Madrid (UPM) from which he received his architectural degree in 1961. From 1958 to 1961 he worked in the office in Madrid of the architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza. He has taught architecture at various locations around the world and from 1985 to 1990 was the chairman of Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is the first Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture. He became Academic Numerary in the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid in May 1997. Spanish constructions of his design include the renovation of the Villahermosa Palace (Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum) in Madrid, the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, an expansion of the Madrid Atocha railway station, the Diestre Factory in Zaragoza, Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation in Majorca the headquarters of the Bankinter (again, in Madrid), Town Hall in Logroño. He also designed the annex to the Murcia Town Hall, which was completed in 1998.

His latest works are the enlargement of the Prado Museum, the extension of the Bank of Spain, an almost totally mimetic reproduction of the existing building and the extension of the Madrid Atocha railway station 2011. Some of Moneo’s prominent works in the US include the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, the Davis Art Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and the Audrey Jones Beck Building (an expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston).

Moneo also designed the Chace Center, a new building for the Rhode Island School of Design. Moneo’s most recent work is the Northwest Corner Building (formerly the Interdepartmental Science Building) at Columbia University in New York City, which first opened in December 2010. Moneo is in possession of prestigious international awards including the Prize of architecture Arnold W. Brunner Memorial (1993) of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Schock Prize in Visual Arts (1993) in Stockholm, the Pritzker Prize (1996), the Antonio Feltrinelli (1998) of the National Academy of Lincei in Rome and Mies van der Rohe (2001) of Barcelona. Poltrona Frau S.p.A. Via Sandro Pertini 22 62029 Tolentino (MC) T. +39 0733 9091 Mail [email protected] Web

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