Luke Hughes’ designs at Westbourne Grove Church on BBC’s Newsnight

Luke Hughes’ designs at Westbourne Grove Church on BBC’s Newsnight

December 2010

Luke Hughes designs for Westbourne Grove Church and Community Centre were featured on BBC’s Newsnight on 24 November.  Luke Hughes and Company designed the rough-sawn black walnut altar for the church to sit alongside anodised aluminum panels by artist, Laura Cave.  This was part of a complete set of furniture for the church and community centre.

The television article used Westbourne Grove Church to illustrate how sensitive restoration based on careful dialogue between church and designers can produce furniture and an environment which is both attractive and functional and enhances the involvement of the church in the local community.

The Newsnight feature was stimulated by a public debate sponsored by the National Churches Trust and The Spectator concerning the future of church buildings. Will it be possible for these beautiful and ancient buildings to remain not only the hub of local communities but also a source of local pride as the cost of maintaining them escalates and the pressure to put them on the market grows? The debate, in which Luke Hughes participated, had been held earlier that evening in the Freemason’s Hall in London.  Speakers included Rod Liddle - Columnist, The Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser – Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Johnathan Glancey – Architecture and Design Correspondent and Stephen Pound – MP for Ealing North.  The debate was chaired by Fraser Nelson – Editor of The Spectator

Luke Hughes speaks at Urban Design London

Luke Hughes speaks at Urban Design London

December 2010

Luke Hughes was invited to address senior urban planners and architects from the London boroughs on how carefully designed furniture can be used to bring life to a notable architectural space while still respecting its historic environment.  This is of particular importance for city buildings, especially those in the public domain.

He cited the restoration of the UK Supreme Court in Parliament Square in London which he had been involved with.  Painstaking research on the preservation of its historic fabric and architectural detail underpinned the design of the 21st century courtrooms and library.

At the Leggate Theatre, Liverpool University, insensitive 1970s seating was replaced by new chairs which re-established the striking curved layout of the 1892 interior designed by Alfred Waterhouse (1830 – 1905).  The new seating incorporated the triple function of seat, handrail and writing tablet. He gave examples of where, without loss of aesthetics or sense of history, carefully designed modern furniture could provide flexible use of public halls and council chambers. Other examples included the 1930s Hertfordshire County Council building, street furniture for Glasgow City Council and the Corporation of London, in particular the seating in the churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The seminar was organised by Urban Design London and hosted by the London Development Agency. Other speakers included Eric Parry (Eric Parry Architects) Paul Velluet (Chartered Architect and former English Heritage Inspector) and Nick Hurst (TP Bennett).

Boxgrove Priory

Boxgrove Priory

November 2010

The re-ordering of Boxgrove Priory has been awarded the President’s Award of the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association.

Anthony Feltham-King, of St Ann’s Gate Architects, and the priest-in-charge, Father Ian Forrester, collected the prize on 4 November from Michael Hoare, Chairman of the National Churches Trust, who made special mention of the ‘outstanding contribution’ to the scheme made by the quality of the church seating, designed and made by Luke Hughes and Company.

The interior of the Priory is a fine example of Norman (Romanesque) and Early English (Gothic) architecture, described in the best guide books as the second most interesting church building in Sussex (East and West), after Chichester Cathedral. Today it is also used as a venue for concerts as well as religious activities and the new stacking pews allow flexibility in the space without compromising the outstanding architectural interior.

Walpole Awards

Walpole Awards

October 2010

Luke Hughes shortlisted for British luxury design talent award

Luke Hughes and Company, furniture designers to the nation’s best loved buildings and the world’s most powerful brands, has been short-listed for the Walpole Award for British Luxury Design Talent.

Now in its 9th year, the Walpole Awards for Excellence honour individuals and companies for their work in the luxury sector both in Britain and around the world, celebrating their outstanding achievements in design, craftsmanship, business and culture. Past winners include Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Dunhill, Paul Smith, Goodwood, Links of London, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Aston Martin and Marc Jacobs, amongst others.

“We think of what we do as essential - not a luxury - so it is a surprise to be nominated, let alone short-listed” said Luke Hughes on hearing the news. “The Walpole Awards are among the most prestigious design awards in the country; it is wonderful to receive such high-profile acknowledgement for our commitment to the highest standard of design, innovation and British craftsmanship.”

The winners will be announced at the Walpole Awards for Excellence on Monday 15th November 2010 at the Banqueting House, Whitehall.

For more information contact:
Helen Newbury 020 7404 5995
Luke Hughes

Notes for Editors:

Luke Hughes is based in Covent Garden and specialises in designing furniture for sensitive architectural interiors.  The company’s experience of keeping great buildings relevant in a rapidly changing world through bespoke furniture of outstanding quality has led to their designs being selected for more than 50 Oxbridge colleges, 40 luxury spas in international hotels, 5 Royal Palaces, more than 900 corporate boardrooms and 70 parish churches and 10 cathedrals. Recent projects include the new sanctuary seating in Westminster Abbey (used for the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit on 17 September) and a suite of spa relaxation beds for Editions Istanbul (the world’s third 7-star hotel).

Luke Hughes is also a mountaineer who has climbed the North Face of the Eiger, forced a new route up Everest and explored unmapped central areas of Tibet.

Fellow nominees in the British Luxury Design talent category include fashion designer Christopher Kane, milliner Philip Treacy and the textile and wallpapers company, Timorous Beasties. Both Luke Hughes and Company and Timorous Beasties were involved in furnishing the new UK Supreme Court in Parliament Square.

Among the sixty illustrious judges will be Lucia van der Post, Yasmine le Bon, Lucy Yeomans, Nick Foulkes, Tony Chambers, Marcus Wareing, Mario Testino, Stephen Bailey, Jenny Packham and Brent Hoberman,  Nicholas Candy (Candy & Candy), Andrew Summers (Design Partners UK),  Marcus Fairs (Dezeen), David Kester (Design Council) and Wally Olins (Saffron Consultants).

Walpole’s members consist of over 70 of Britain’s most luxurious brands that exemplify the highest standards of quality, style, design, craftsmanship, creativity, service and innovation.

His Holiness the Pope visits Westminster Abbey

His Holiness the Pope visits Westminster Abbey

September 2010

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, attended a Service of Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey on Friday 17 September 2010. The ecumenical service formed part of the state visit of His Holiness to the United Kingdom and was also attended by the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu and the (Roman Catholic) Archbishop of Westminster the Most Revd Vincent Nichols as well as the leaders of other Churches of the British Isles.

Pope Benedict was welcomed to the Abbey by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, who said: ‘Your Holiness, the Dean and Chapter welcomes you most warmly as the first pope to visit this Church dedicated to St Peter, which has been the kingdom’s coronation church since 1066, and which, for 600 years as a Benedictine Abbey, until the English Reformation, enjoyed a close relationship of mutual support with the papacy.’

The clergy were seated on the new sacrarium stalls designed and made by Luke Hughes and Company. The furniture sits over the Cosmati pavement, set with semi-precious stones, which was laid down in 1268 by order of Henry III.

During the service, both the Pope and the Archbishop venerated the gospel given by Pope Gregory the Great to St Augustine in the 6th century to help convert the English. The gospels are now kept in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Christopher de Hamel.

By a curious coincidence, the new chairs in the Parker Library at Corpus were also designed by Luke Hughes.

Luke Hughes visits Carrara

Luke Hughes visits Carrara

August 2010

Luke Hughes made a third visit to Carrara in August to select the marble from the quarries above Pietra Santa for the new holy table for St Giles’ Cathedral. The main table block, weighing 2.9 tonnes, will be made from a single bush-hammered Calacata marble, with black veined steps made in Nero Marquinia. The whole construction is due to be installed in time for St Andrew’s Day on 30 November 2010.

There has been considerable debate about how the marble will be conveyed through the nave and into position under the central tower. The structural engineer for the project is Bryan Edie of Arup and the cathedral architect responsible for enabling works is Graham Tristram.

The installation closely coincides with the 450th anniversary of the day (24 August 1560) when the Scottish Parliament formally broke the link with the pre-Reformation church.

Completion of the TS Elliot Theatre at Merton College Oxford

Completion of the TS Elliot Theatre at Merton College Oxford

July 2010

Merton College has just completed the new TS Elliot lecture theatre, designed by Ridge consultants. The building has been carefully blended into the south side of the original 1930s Rose Lane accommodation block and is the most recent building to be opened in the College’s 750-year history. The theatre offers both the college and conference organisers state of the art facilities for up to 140 conference delegates. There are three seminar rooms and a large foyer area for circulation and break-out.

Luke Hughes and Company designed all the loose furniture specially for the lecture theatre and seminar rooms, working in close collaboration with the architects under Graham Blackburn and the college bursars, John Gloag and Douglas Bamber. A recent delegate wrote ‘the TS Eliot Lecture Theatre is an outstanding venue with all the latest technology, style and comfort and it was a pleasure to hold our conference in such wonderful surroundings’.

Luke Hughes and Company has now been working with the college on special projects for more than 20 years.

The Architecture Club exhibition at the Mall Galleries

The Architecture Club exhibition at the Mall Galleries

June 2010

The Architecture Club launched an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in June entitled 50 years of London Architecture 1960-2010. It was a spectacular exhibition of architectural photographs of iconic buildings in London built during that time and was organised as part of the London Architecture Festival 2010 which took place across the capital from 19 June to 4 July.

Of the 150 buildings that have been built since 1981 (the year Luke Hughes moved his workshop to Covent Garden), no less than 23 have had furniture designed and made for them by Luke Hughes and Company.

The Architecture Club was founded in 1922 in order ‘to enlarge the public appreciation of good architecture and the applied arts, and especially the best work of today’. The exhibition was organised by Jennifer Wakefield, and enjoyed generous donations from Delancey and Christina Smith.

New book covering UK Supreme Court refurbishment is published

New book covering UK Supreme Court refurbishment is published

June 2010

A lavish new book , ‘The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom: history, art, architecture’ was published in June. The book, edited by Chris Miele, records the history of the Westminster site since medieval days, the architectural history of the Middlessex Guildhall, the story behind the transformation of the judicial function of the House of Lords into a new Supreme Court, and a detailed account of the refurbishment of the building - which was officially opened by the Queen in October 2009.

Luke Hughes and Company designed the new library (the centre-piece of the building) and, in collaboration with Tomoko Azumi, all the furniture for the three courtrooms and the Justices’ private offices. The book has copious illustrations of the new interiors, in which the furniture features prominently.

The architects for the re-furbishment were Feilden+Mawson.

The publication of the book, with learned chapters by architectural historians Jeremy Musson and Peter Cormack, was a requirement of the grant of listed building consent by Westminster City Council, after a long legal challenge mounted by SAVE.

Prince of Wales opens Leighton House Museum

Prince of Wales opens Leighton House Museum

May 2010

The Prince of Wales officially opened Leighton House Museum in May after its extensive refurbishment (see News, March 2010). The occasion offered an opportunity for Luke Hughes to present the cabinet-maker, Alan Harvey, to His Royal Highness, who was intrigued to learn that it was Alan’s workshop which had made many of the Luke Hughes and Company designs for furniture in St George’s Chapel Windsor, the Royal Collection, Westminster Abbey and the archive library at the Art Workers Guild (also opened by the Prince in 2006).

North House, Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts

North House, Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts

April 2010

A complete new range of office furniture has been developed in collaboration with Ian Ritchie Architects for North House, a listed property in Westminster. The 18th century buildings were formerly converted by the architect Oliver Hill in the 1930s and have just been upgraded by IRA for use as the headquarters of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.

The furniture scope for the furniture includes meeting tables, integrated lighting,  desks and storage units made in a combination of glass and shot-peened stainless-steel, with leather writing surfaces for the desks. Further details and images will be available in the coming months.

Luke Hughes for the Leighton House Museum

Luke Hughes for the Leighton House Museum

March 2010

Luke Hughes and Company was commissioned by Leighton House Museum to recreate a lost design for a desk, formerly the property of Lord Leighton.

The only source was a blurred, black and white Victorian photograph of Leighton’s study along with some line drawings of other furniture designed by Leighton’s architect, George Aitchison.

It is the second time the Leighton House Museum have asked Luke Hughes & Company to design furniture for its acutely sensitive architectural setting. The first project, more than 25 years ago, was for a pair of display cabinets for De Morgan china and were made personally by Luke Hughes in our original Covent Garden workshop.

‘The Green Alternative’ Luke Hughes talks to architects and the timber trade in Australasia

‘The Green Alternative’ Luke Hughes talks to architects and the timber trade in Australasia

February 2010

Luke Hughes was invited to Australia and New Zealand in February to talk to architects and the local timber trade about The Green Alternative.  The invitation followed his visits to Sydney and Brisbane in 2008 and the UAE in 2009 and forms part of a series of international talks about designing in timber. The talks were 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 forest cover around the world.

His stay in Melbourne coincided with the hearings of The Royal Commission on forest fires in the state of Victoria. The recent ferocity of such fires has been far greater than usual due to the failure of recent state governments to periodically burn accumulations of brushwood, an indigenous practice going back thousands of years. The American Hardwoods Export Council were a major sponsor of the events, which were organised by Timber Design Magazine

Designing furniture for the New North London Synagogue

Designing furniture for the New North London Synagogue

January 2010

In January, Luke Hughes and Company were runners-up in a design competition for the new furniture for the New North London Synagogue. The new building, designed by van Heynigen and Haward is due for completion in autumn 2010. The scope for the furniture included the Ark of the Covenant, Bimah and Ner Tamid.

This particular competition was ‘one that got away’. The judges (who included Daniel Wiel, Director of Pentagram, Rabbi Wittenberg, Jo van Heynigen and Birkin Haward) wrote to say ‘we really admired what you had done’. ‘I love projects like this - whether they go ahead or not’, said Luke Hughes. ‘They force you to think.’

Having now designed furniture for 9 major cathedrals and more than 60 parish churches, it is extremely rewarding to explore aspects of liturgy in an unfamiliar religion. Lots of new ideas came to the fore, many of which will inform our future approach to design, and our total commitment to designing furniture for buildings that really matter to those who use them’. The project follows on from a previous commission for designing and making furniture for Westminster Synagogue in 2004.

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