News

Season’s greetings!

Season’s greetings!

December 2015

2015 has been a year of wonderful, challenging new projects and the passing of some poignant milestones. We’d like to wish everyone, clients, suppliers, friends and colleagues a wonderful festive season and a prosperous new year.


To celebrate, below are just a few of our favourite social media posts by our project partners which show some of our designs in use.

Yale NUS
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Read more about the project here

Churchill College
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Read more about the project here

Rosewood London
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University of Liverpool
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University of Winchester
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Read more about the project here

Westminster Abbey
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Read more about the project here

Yale
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Read more about the project here








Luke Hughes® and Bob Dylan

Luke Hughes® and Bob Dylan

December 2015

Today the team were thrilled to see our bespoke leather benches for Yale University co-star in IBM’s new campaign alongside the one and only Bob Dylan.

Catch the new advert below and read more about the project here








Coventry chair at Valparaiso University

Coventry chair at Valparaiso University

December 2015

Following the re-launch of the iconic Coventry chair in May this year, Luke Hughes® has recently delivered 1,545 chairs for the Chapel of Resurrection at Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA -  the first major ecclesiastical project using the revived design.

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The chapel, believed to be the largest college chapel in the US (and probably the world) is an outstanding example of 1950s architecture and was designed by Indiana-based architect Charles Stade. It is often noted for its striking resemblance to Coventry Cathedral.

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The Coventry chair design was originally commissioned from Dick Russell by Sir Basil Spence for Coventry Cathedral, and was later selected to furnish churches and cathedrals across the world. After a recent visit to Coventry, representatives of Valparaiso University initially contacted the Gordon Russell Trust who passed them on to Luke Hughes® with whom there has been a close and long-established relationship.

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For Luke Hughes®, a company that specializes in furniture in architecture, the chair fits perfectly with the company’s design philosophy that furniture should embellish architectural space, not impose upon it. Since its debut in 1962, the Coventry chair has been commissioned by many major UK cathedrals including Winchester, Wells, Southwark and Hereford with thousands still in use today.

Watch a short film on Luke’s visit to the Gordon Russell Trust here
& see a film on the making of the revived Coventry chair here








Luke Hughes® on Premier Radio

Luke Hughes® on Premier Radio

December 2015

In case you missed it, listen to Nicholas Smith, Communications Executive at Luke Hughes® discuss the future of worship spaces on Premier Christian Radio.

Catch the interview here








Event: 25 years of Oxford design

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.

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The Oakeshott Room, Lincoln College

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Luke Hughes in conversation with architect Paul Williams

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

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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

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Tom Moore of Luke Hughes® greets guests at the event

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

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

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Luke Hughes and the Stanton Williams team








The Luke Hughes 120º

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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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Leicester in the Ricardian Bulletin

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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








Reviving the Coventry chair

June 2015

Luke Hughes® and the Gordon Russell Trust revive the Coventry chair
The ‘Coventry’ chair, designed in 1960 by Dick Russell for Basil Spence’s new Coventry Cathedral, is going back into production.

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The revived Coventry chair

Luke Hughes® and the Gordon Russell Trust have confirmed the details of an exclusive world-wide licensing arrangement which will benefit the Broadway-based Gordon Russell Museum from future royalties. The agreement was recently signed by Luke Hughes, CEO of Luke Hughes® and Ray Leigh, former Chairman of Gordon Russell Ltd (and, before that, architectural partner of Dick Russell) who is one of the trustees and founders of the museum.

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Trevor Chinn, Trustee at the Gordon Russell Trust gives his reaction

Luke Hughes, who has been designing furniture for cathedrals and churches across the UK and USA for the last 25 years said ‘it’s an iconic 1960s design, beautiful in itself, practical, hard-wearing and passing that key test, really important for churches, of minimizing visual impact on the interior; so many beautiful church interiors are ruined by inappropriate furniture’.

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Ray Leigh and Luke Hughes sign the global licensing deal

Another museum trustee, Trevor Chinn, now in his nineties, who was formerly in charge of production at the Gordon Russell factory which made thousands of the chairs for cathedrals and churches around the world, said recently ‘ ‘the design epitomises all the best traditions of the Arts and Crafts Movement with the practicalities of the machine age. Gordon used to say that we needed to teach the machine some manners – well, his brother Dick certainly did with this chair. It’s marvelous to know this classic design will have new life’.

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The original and revived versions of the Coventry chair

The manufacturing processes have been upgraded to take into account modern production techniques that were simply not available fifty years ago. Trial production runs have already been begun; rigorous testing has been completely successful.

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A meeting of the original and revived Coventry chairs

Nigel Shepherd, COO, observed recently ‘The chair fits perfectly with the company’s general design philosophy that furniture should embellish architectural space, not embarrass it. We are already receiving significant enquiries, especially from the United States, and hope to be able to have more news about these in the coming weeks’

For more information, please contact our team on info@lukehughes.co.uk or call our studio on 0207 404 5995

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Finger joint detail of the new Coventry chair








Luke Hughes x Museums at Night

May 2015

This month Luke Hughes gave two talks at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom as part of Museums at Night, a bi-annual event opening doors to some of the UK’s most important cultural buildings after dark.

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Set within the subtly finished, bright surrounds of Court Room 2, the first of the talks introduced the refurbishment of the Grade II listed home of the Supreme Court and how the Luke Hughes® team became involved.

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Later Luke held an open talk set in the elegant confines of the Law Library, discussing the finer details of the design and materials used and how the process stayed true to the historical setting.

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Read more about the project here.

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First five photos courtesy of Kevin Leighton/Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.








Join us for Museums at Night

Join us for Museums at Night

April 2015

On May 14th, join Luke Hughes for a very special evening at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

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As part of an exciting evening exploring this stunning setting, Luke will discuss some of the challenges in the transformation of the Grade II* listed Middlesex Guildhall into the new home of the Supreme Court. The renovated building, re-opened by HM the Queen in 2009, now houses three courts, circulation and exhibition areas and an exquisite law library, all with furnishings specially designed to respond to both the building’s architectural legacy and the practical issues of running the country’s principal appellate court in the 21st century.

In what promises to be a detailed and revealing insight Luke Hughes will present the case for the continued relevance and legacy of this national landmark.

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‘Museums at Night is the UK’s twice-yearly after-hours festival which aims to encourage new visitors to discover the fantastic culture and heritage on offer on their doorsteps. There are over 500 events taking place in museums, galleries and heritage sites, and one of the most interesting is the chance to explore the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. In addition to enjoying a courtroom drama and live music, visitors can learn what it’s like to work in the Supreme Court, while the architecture of this fascinating place will be brought to life by furniture designer Luke Hughes, who’ll share the inside story on transforming and furnishing the grade II* listed Middlesex Guildhall into the Supreme Court’s new home. All in all, it should be a uniquely interesting experience!
Rosie Clarke, Campaigns Officer, Culture24

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For more information and to join us for the evening, visit the Supreme Court’s event page here.








Luke Hughes for the Royal Savoy

Luke Hughes for the Royal Savoy

March 2015

High on the hills above the Swiss city of Lausanne lies the Hotel Royal Savoy, the location of Luke Hughes®’ latest project. As part of a multi-million euro redevelopment of the 1906 hotel, built in the style of a grand chateau, original architectural features will be restored and its leading spa facilities will be upgraded. In addition, a 5,000m2 park exclusive to guests will be incorporated within the hotel grounds.

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Luke Hughes® has been commissioned to design and install 17 spa beds for the extensive new wing that will include treatment rooms and indoor and outdoor pools leading to terraced gardens.

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For the last few weeks our custom designs have been crafted in English workshops in preparation for the Hotel’s expected reopening this summer. The waterbed mattresses, with integrated temperature controls, feature stained American white oak surrounds and adjustable goose-neck reading lights. Together the clean lines of this modern ‘sanctuary for the senses’ and the architecturally considered designs by Luke Hughes®’ create a space to relax and inspire.

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For updates on the project, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.








Luke Hughes on BBC Radio

Luke Hughes on BBC Radio

March 2015

As part of the highly anticipated reinterment of King Richard III, Luke Hughes made an appearance on BBC Radio Leicester’s afternoon show with Ben Jackson to discuss our furniture for Leicester Cathedral.

Speaking about his own history in furniture design and the background of design and history that influenced our work for the cathedral, Luke took the chance to thank the teams involved and encourage people to support their local heritage sites.

Listen to the show on demand here.

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Luke Hughes in the Leicester Mercury

Luke Hughes in the Leicester Mercury

March 2015

With just a fortnight to go until the highly anticipated reinterment of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral, the city’s leading newspaper has written of the installment of the cathedral’s new Luke Hughes designed furniture.

‘We’re honoured to be a part of this important and exciting project for both the city and its cathedral; the architect and the Chaplain have worked so hard and creatively to make the result one for all the people of Leicester to be proud of.’ says Luke in the article with the Leicester Mercury newspaper.








London Craft Week at the Art Workers Guild

London Craft Week at the Art Workers Guild

February 2015

As a prelude to London Craft Week and to draw attention to its Century appeal, the prestigious Art Workers Guild held a showcase of the work and specialisms of many of its members at it’s 6 Queen Square headquarters.

The guests of honour were the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, both long-term supporters of the guild.

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The Duchess of Cornwall and book binder Mark Winstanely

In attendance to support the event were guild members, artists, makers and supporters of the craft community throughout the country. Designer Tom Dixon, Director of the Somerset House Trust Jonathan Reekie and wallpaper designer Marthe Armitage were all in attendance.

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Luke Hughes introduces the Prince of Wales to carver Georgy Mkrtichian

Luke Hughes was on hand to discuss our recent work for the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London alongside carver Georgy Mkrtichian who collaborated with us on the project.

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The Prince of Wales and Luke Hughes discuss furniture design

Luke Hughes has written a personal blog post on the importance of the guild, in which he describes the Art Workers Guild as a ‘repository of the collective memory of the Art and Crafts Movement and host to over fifty other arts and community related organisations…’

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Stonecarver Paul Jakeman discusses his work with the Prince of Wales








Sheffield Cathedral in Church Building

Sheffield Cathedral in Church Building

January 2015

The internal and external reordering of Sheffield Cathedral by Thomas Ford & Partners has been featured in an in-depth, 5-page spread in the latest issue of Church Building & Heritage Review.

As part of the project, which saw new heating, seating and lighting as well as a new entranceway. Luke Hughes was asked to design and craft stacking pews, invented by Luke Hughes in 1997.

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Now with seating for over 500 congregants, the nave can be stacked and cleared in under 20 minutes, allowing the space to be used for alternative events and gatherings, increasing the functionality of the building.

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‘Thomas Ford & Partners’ re-ordering of the interior and exterior at Sheffield Cathedral promotes flexibility of use as well as re-establishing the historic relationship with the city centre…Replacement of fixed pews with oak bench seating has facilitated flexible use of the nave.’
- Church Building and Heritage Review

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