Luke Hughes and Company commissioned by Westminster Abbey to provide clergy seating

Luke Hughes and Company commissioned by Westminster Abbey to provide clergy seating

December 2009

Luke Hughes & Company have this month been commissioned by the Dean & Chapter of Westminster Abbey to design and make new clergy seating to be used over the Cosmati Pavement, one of the most important medieval floors in Europe, incorporating symbolic patterns and innumerable semi-precious stones.

The four-year restoration of the Pavement has been carried out by the conservation team at the Abbey and is due for completion in May 2010. One of the practical considerations for the furniture is the unevenness of floor surface, varying as much as 40mm in localised areas. Any clergy seats have to be moved into a variety of positions for grand ceremonial occasions (such as royal visits) as well as the more usual weekly liturgical requirements. The furniture must be easy to adjust to ensure it is both level and stable. It must also spread any weight across the feet to minimise point-loading.

Our unusual solution uses of a series of felt-lined folding wedges, retained in position by earth-magnets. These can be swiftly adjusted by Abbey staff to take up any discrepancies in the floor levels. Walnut will be used since it is much lighter than oak, the conventional timber for ecclesiastical seating. The prototype has been approved and the final set of clergy seating will be unveiled in April 2010.

Luke Hughes gives presentations at the ‘IFID 09’ conference in Dubai

Luke Hughes gives presentations at the ‘IFID 09’ conference in Dubai

November 2009

Luke Hughes was invited to Dubai in November to give a number of presentations at the annual conference of the International Federation of Interior Designers (IFI09). The conference was held in association with the Dubai-based Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID). Others speaking at the conference included Ross Lovegrove and Sebastian Conran.

The two principal topics addressed by Luke at the four-day conference were:
- ‘Sustainability and Materials in Design’, and
- ‘Economic implications of health tourism to the design of luxury hotels’.

The former was an extension of Luke’s provocative views about the real life-cycle costing of interior fit-outs and his unconventional approach to the sustainability of timber. The latter was part of a high-level panel-discussion about hotel spa design - a principal market for Luke Hughes and Company and an area where getting the furniture right can make a huge difference to the economics of the whole building. The panel included Dr Gerald Huber (Regional Director of Schletterer, the global spa design company), Markus Stebich (CEO of Stebich Hospitality Solutions), and Daniella Russell (independent spa consultant and the first operator of spas in Dubai).

Over the last ten years, Luke Hughes and Company has been involved with more than 40 major international luxury hotel spa projects. Clients include the Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, and Ritz Carlton hotel groups. The American Hardwoods Export Council were a major sponsor of the event.

Natasha Woodbridge is Principal Spa Consultant for Luke Hughes and Company.

The Queen opens the United Kingdom Supreme Court

The Queen opens the United Kingdom Supreme Court

October 2009

On October 16, the new UK Supreme Court was formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.  A tour was arranged for other holders of high public offices including the Prime Minister, Jack Straw (former Lord Chancellor, now Justice Secretary), the Archbishop of Canterbury, two Supreme Court Justices from the United States and most of the senior judiciary of the UK.

Luke Hughes and Company designed the new library (the centre-piece of the building) and, in collaboration with Tomoko Azumi, the furniture for the three courtrooms and the Justices’ private rooms. The architects for the re-furbishment were Feilden and Mawson.

Luke Hughes had the honour to explain to the Queen some of the background to the evolution of the designs for the library and courtrooms, and to introduce her to other designers and artists involved on the project, including Ian Rank-Broadley (who created the magnificent new bronze bas-relief portrait of the Queen that now hangs in the entrance), Bettina Furnée (glass engraver) and Yvonne Holton (heraldic artist and designer of the new crest).

Tomoko Azumi, with whom Luke Hughes & Company collaborated in the creation of the court-room furniture, was also introduced to the royal party and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had just returned from a visit to Hiroshima, where Tomoko was born. He revealed that ‘it was one of the most moving experiences of my life’.

The Prime Minister was amused to have pointed out to him by Luke three small stone carved figures which have adorned some of the corbels supporting the original library ceiling, one of the sculptor Henry Fehr, one of his principal carver Domenico Magnoni, and one of Lloyd George (then Chancellor of Exchequer and later Prime Minister) depicted avariciously holding back the money-bags. ‘That’s what artists do to immortalise former Chancellors who then go on to higher things, Prime Minister’, said Luke Hughes ‘Oh, that’s excellent, I like that!’, said Gordon Brown, and then spent the next five minutes showing the figures to everyone else in the room.

The Botanic Institute in Cambridge

The Botanic Institute in Cambridge

September 2009

Luke Hughes and Company has just been appointed to design and procure all the purpose-made furniture for the new Botanic Institute in Cambridge. The new building, designed by Stanton Williams, is being built in the Botanic Gardens of Cambridge University and is being funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

The building is a fine example of one of the principal tenets of Luke Hughes and Company’s design philosophy, namely that in any good building the connection between the architecture and the furniture should be seamless, creating a sense of ‘rightness’, functionally and aesthetically. Most buildings have neither function nor purpose without furniture: inappropriate pieces grossly undermine great architecture. The skill lies in matching the two: a building should be embellished by use, not embarassed by it. Completion is expected in late 2010. Project Managers are Hannah Reed and Associates.

Upon completion at the end of 2010, the Sainsbury Laboratory will become home to 120 scientists and 30 support staff all dedicated to discovering precisely how plant diversity arises and evolves.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

August 2009

Hampton Court Palace has, as part of the 500th anniversary of the accession of Henry VIII, recently upgraded its interpretation of parts of the palace and the royal court.

Luke Hughes and Company collaborated with the exhibition designer Karl Abeyasekera of Studio Associates and Della Cooper (Creative and Design Manager at the Historic Royal Palaces) on the furniture and AV display in the re-created Council Chamber, and some intriguing trestle tables - both for the body of the Great Hall and the dais on which Henry and his various queens must have sat. The tables had to express some of the Tudor feel but the light-weight, quick release table tops had to be designed for rapid removal by a single usher ‘in a hurry’ and stacked into mobile trolleys, to be wheeled away to be stored. The designs of the furniture derived from some of the designs found on board Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose. Luke Hughes had, as a student in the 1970s, been involved with the underwater excavations of the Mary Rose prior to it being lifted from the seabed

LHCL works with Tomoko Azumi

LHCL works with Tomoko Azumi

July 2009

Luke Hughes & Company have again been collaborating with designer Tomoko Azumi at TNA studio to increase their range of specialist furniture designs for the luxury hotel spa market. The company has, since the first installation at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge in 1999 (designed by Eric Parry Architects) now completed major projects with:-

The Peninsulas’ - Hong Kong, Chicago, Bangkok and Tokyo
Bahia Del Duque, Tenerifie
Metropole Spa, Monaco
Maryborough, Ireland
Mar Menor, Spain
Grand Lisboa Hotel, Machau
Gleneagles Hotel Scotland
Hotel Europe Ireland
The Address Hotel, Downtown Burj Dubai
The Reval Hotel Riga
The G, Ireland
One and Only Palimia
Ritz Carlton Hotel Powerscourt, Bahrain and Moscow
Loch Lomond, Scotland
Sofitel St James, London, UK
Captains Club, Dorset , UK
Mandarin Oriental Knightsbridge

The first major project for the new designs was recently delivered to the Hotel Europe in Killarney. This has been followed by further orders from the Reval Hotel in Riga, Latvia. The new designs are an expression of Luke Hughes & Company’s commitment to meticulous research into the ways in which furniture enables sensitive architectural spaces to work, both efficiently and economically. Natasha Woodbridge and Naomi Greig head up the Spa team at Luke Hughes & Company. For more details, visit the Luke Hughes and Company spa beds site.

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh, Holy Table

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh, Holy Table

June 2009

A radical new holy table has been designed by Luke Hughes for St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh and in June 2009 was approved by the Office of Worship & Doctrine of the Church of Scotland. The table will be made out of a solid 3-ton block of marble, quarried near Carara and is expected to be installed in the autumn of 2009. There have been intense discussions about the liturgical symbolism of the table and this has led to visits to various quarries, including the romantic, abandoned quarry on Iona, where Columba first re-introduced Christianity in the 6th century. Eventually, the choice of stone was for a Calacata marble which will be worked by Mauro Rovai in Pietra Santa, near Pisa in Italy.

Continued work with Unilever

Continued work with Unilever

May 2009

During 2009 Luke Hughes & Company have continued to supply Unilever’s prestigious HQ with executive boardroom and dining furniture to match the original pieces designed to complement the highly successful rebuilding of Unilever House by architects Kohn Pederson Fox in 2007. ‘It is very pleasing to see how much the newly designed furniture is working and how well it is appreciated by the client’, said customer manager, Wendy Graham.

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

April 2009

Earlier this year, Luke Hughes® was appointed to consider new liturgical furniture for the nave of St Albans Cathedral and, in April, the resulting designs were approved by the Dean & Chapter and English Heritage. The designs include altar, altar rails, clergy seating, choir stalls and a radical storage arrangement under the organ loft that will deal with the storage problems associated with the inevitable clutter of a busy cathedral. The scheme has evolved in collaboration with the cathedral surveyor, RIchard Griffiths and the artist, John Maddison, who has designed a painted panelled ceiling for the storage area. ‘There are many challenges in working in one of England’s finest Romanesque ecclesiastical interiors, not least enabling the space to work for worshippers and and cathedral staff. It may be challenging, but it is certainly stimulating - as ever, we are committed to getting the details absolutely right’.

Completion of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Completion of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

March 2009

This month saw the completion of the building works of the new Supreme Court, for which Luke Hughes and Company has designed the library fittings to fit in with Feidlen and Mawson’s architectural scheme. This appointment follows Luke Hughes’ award-winning designs for another major law library - the Supreme Court Library in Edinburgh, completed in 2004. Luke Hughes & Company have also designed, in collaboration with Tomoko Azumi, the furniture for the three new courtrooms, as well as the furniture for the Justices’s new private rooms. The completion of the library, manufactured by joinery company E.E. Smith as sub-contractors to the Kier Group, has presented unexpected challenges including incorporating water-sprinkler fittings within the book-stack lighting. It has also meant collaborating again with the letter-designer, Richard Kindersley, who also designed the lettering for the Luke Hughes Millennium Altar for Bristol Cathedral in 2001.

King and  Spalding

King and Spalding

February 2009

Another milestone was reached when Luke Hughes & Company completed the corporate dining and boardroom furniture for their 40th London legal practice in 12 years. This project was for King & Spalding, the international law firm who have more than 880 lawyers in their offices in Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, London, Riyadh and major cities all over the USA. The firm represents more than 250 USA public companies, including half of the Fortune 100.  The installation follows closely on the heels of the fit out for Mayer Brown in Bishopsgate. Their newly refurbished offices in Old Broad Street were designed by Oliver Associates, with whom Luke Hughes & Company collaborated in the designs of the meeting room furniture which are made in exotic burr walnut veneers, marble, stainless steel and a wide variety of other materials.

Download pdf story with pictures [pdf 868kb]

Henderson Global Investors

Henderson Global Investors

January 2009

Luke Hughes & Company have just completed the loose furniture for 15 client meeting and dining rooms, a boardroom and flexible presentation rooms for Henderson Global Investors, as collaborators in a scheme by leading interior and workplace interior consultants, Pringle Brandon. The result is a 125,000 sq ft carbon-neutral office for up to 900 people - and includes 6 fish-tanks in the break-out spaces. The scheme was winner of the Fit Out of Workplace (London) category at BCO Awards. The project saw the first use of the new MOKI cable-managed table leg system, developed by Luke Hughes and Company in collaboration with Tomoko Azumi. One of the great advantage of the design is the considered use of folded steel-sheet, based on Japanese origami principles - a cost-effective production technique that minimises welds and polishing and therefore greatly reduces energy costs in manufacture. The cable management up the legs is simple and easy to use. Luke Hughes & Company are committed to much more of this kind of ‘clever thinking’, appropriate to the ecological challenges of the age.

Download pdf story with pictures [pdf 915kb]

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