Luke Hughes and Company, recent news

Event: 25 years of Oxford design

September 2015

Last week the Luke Hughes® team celebrated 25 years of designing for Oxford colleges by hosting an event at our latest project, the refurbished Oakeshott Room at Lincoln College. Paul Williams, partner at architecture practice Stanton Williams, who designed the extension and restoration of the room, joined Luke to discuss the evolving needs and requirements of college buildings and how that has changed in the last quarter of a century.

If you’d like to read more on the subject, Luke has written a piece over on our blog looking back over 25 years working for the University of Oxford. Read it here.

The Oakeshott Room, Lincoln College

Luke Hughes in conversation with architect Paul Williams

Luke Hughes talks the audience through design process of the Lincoln chair, designed for the Oakeshott Room, Lincoln College

Luke gives an anthology of poetry written by his great-great-grandfather, Rector of Lincoln College for 34 years, to the current Rector Henry Woudhuysen

Tom Moore of Luke Hughes® greets guests at the event

Luke Barton of Luke Hughes® discusses the project with Christine Ferdinand, Fellow Librarian at Magdalen College and Rector Henry Woudhuysen of Lincoln College

Luke Hughes with the Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford Councillor Colin Cook

Luke Hughes and the Stanton Williams team

The Luke Hughes 120º

September 2015

Luke Hughes® presents a new working environment with the 120º, a desk for the individual in business and academic institutions.


In an age where traditional codes of office life are changing, where co-working and hotdesking are reinventing the modern work place, Luke Hughes® presents the next stage in the evolution of the workstation. For over thirty years Luke Hughes® has designed bespoke furniture for architects and interior designers who sought to provide working spaces suited to contemporary needs. From leading research centres to libraries and institutions across the world, we have pioneered an intellectual approach to furniture that works for and with the user.


‘Open plan offices meet certain needs but there are some write-up and work spaces which need more privacy, acoustic separation and secure storage, without diminishing the possibility of that all-important workplace interaction,’ remarks founder Luke Hughes. The 120º retains the connection of an open plan office but makes available a screen of privacy and focus often overlooked in modern office environments.


Fully integrated cable management and personalised details form the practical core of the 120º concept. So named after the 120 degree curve of the design, it can be installed in undulating rows or gathered in a triptych of desks to form a 360º hub achieving remarkably high-density occupation. Additionally it can be utilised in often wasted space. Easily disconnected, each 120º can be rearranged to suitchanging demands on office space.


The exterior of Leicester Cathedral

Leicester in the Ricardian Bulletin

August 2015

This article was written for, and reproduced with kind permission from, the Ricardian Society

The reinterment of King Richard III is not just a fitting conclusion to the story of the last Plantagenet King but its legacy was also the revitalisation of one of Britain’s greatest examples of ecclesiastical architecture, Leicester Cathedral. Nestled within the city centre, this compact cathedral has been rebuilt, replaced, refined and reordered over its near 1000-year history but has remained a constant centre for worship since its dedication as the Norman church of St Martin.


The interior of this building is rich in detail with each wall bearing decorations from sponsors of the cathedral over the course of its life. Great periods of national upheaval can be traced through these features; for example the captivating Great East Window is a memorial to those who fell during the First World War. It depicts the patron saints of England, France, Belgium as well as Martin, patron saint of soldiers.

Having designed furniture for twenty major cathedrals in its 34-year history, Covent Garden-based specialist furniture designers Luke Hughes® was approached by Reverend Canon Dr Mandy Ford in 2013 to work with Leicester Cathedral to prepare for the reinterment of King Richard III. The cathedral wished to establish a new home for its nationally renowned choirs within the building. In addition, new clergy and canon furniture was commissioned to accommodate all the cathedral’s clergymen and women.


Whilst each new commission is unique in its requirements and final form, the beginnings remain much the same. The vision of the architect is often the starting point for us as furniture designers; by researching archival drawings and notes, we are able to produce designs faithful to the surrounding architecture. To this end, research and investigation is the first stop in any project. Having understood the architectural context, our next concerns are for the people who occupy the space: climate conditions, spatial constraints and the way the building is used.


Whilst the cathedral has seen additions to the fabric from many periods, it is the style of King Richard III’s era, that of the Gothic, that speaks the loudest. Perhaps one of the best known Gothic motifs seen in surviving Middle Ages buildings across England is the arch. Not just structural, the arch allowed many spaces to interconnect without breaking up the internal dialogue of the building. The furniture during this time began to echo this new decorative form; chair backs began to feature ornately carved arches and chiseled flourishes to match the grand tracery.  Drawing upon their experience designing for the grand Gothic surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the Luke Hughes® design team began by articulating how design from the period of King Richard III might translate for a contemporary congregation.

Status was often conferred through furniture at court and across the great halls of England. Such communal centres and places of worship played host to all walks of life and had to span a wealth of functions. To meet this requirement, benches and chairs were designed to be portable, often pushed to the sides of the room when not in use.


It is often noted that the word ‘furniture’ in Italian is ‘mobilia’; a legacy of the transformative nature of furniture. This lives on today, particularly as churches and cathedrals today respond to the need for their buildings to be flexible spaces for the community. Luke Hughes’ response to this need was to design the stacking pew in 1996.

In Leicester Cathedral the design team presented the concept of a family of choir stalls on a raised, moveable base so that they could be repositioned in different configurations depending on the service. The pale, solid oak benches feature a delicate chamfer which gives a crisp edge to the timber. The bespoke candle choir lights feature concealed LED lights which cast the grain of the bookshelves into relief.


In the side aisles beside the choir, a series of oak three-seater benches carry through the chamfered motif and provide seating for the clergy. The Middle Ages custom of depicting differences of status through the height of seating was re-appropriated to distinguish the choir from the clergy through two subtle variations in wood stain. Positioned in front of an ornate panel of age old tracery, each clergy bench is stained to match the panelling, settling our new designs into its ancient home.

It was the hope of the cathedral that both their visitors and worshippers would feel at home with the new furniture. Not just that, but that this cherished landmark would serve generations to come without compromising its heritage. We’re certainly proud to have been involved in this project and hope that the new furniture speaks to both the history and the future of British craftsmanship.

Nicholas Smith
Communications Executive
Luke Hughes®

Luke Hughes® on BBC News

July 2015

This week Birmingham University made news headlines across the world for their discovery of one of the oldest Koran manuscripts ever found. The pages were carbon dated at Oxford University and are said to be at least 1,370 years old.

The keen-eyed amongst you will have spotted the Luke Hughes® library furniture for Birmingham University throughout the feature.

Watch the clip for yourselves here

Press clippings: Coventry chair

June 2015

Last week saw the official announcement of the revival of the 1960’s design icon, the Coventry chair. Originally designed by Dick Russell for the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, the chair has been refreshed and revived by Luke Hughes® for a whole new generation.

Below is some of the latest press coverage from across the world…

Dezeen: Read the article here

Design Week: Read the article here

Art Daily: Read the article here

Coventry Telegraph: Read the article here

Monthly archive

October 2018

September 2018

July 2018

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