25 Years Designing for Cambridge Colleges

25 Years Designing for Cambridge Colleges

October 2016

The Luke Hughes® team were joined by guests, many of them clients over several decades, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of designing furniture for Cambridge colleges on 11 October 2016. The event was held in the Queen’s Theatre at Emmanuel College, a building designed by Hopkins Architects for which Luke Hughes® designed and manufactured all the furniture. It was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1995.

The first Luke Hughes® Cambridge project was a set of dining hall chairs for Corpus Christi College in 1991, which are still in excellent condition after quarter of a century. At the time, the bursar Robert Stopford wrote ‘individually they look elegant, together and filling the Hall they are magnificent. I always knew they would look good and enhance the Hall but they have exceeded my expectations by a wide margin…thank you for the very considerable time, effort and patience you devoted to producing a design which satisfied our many (and changing) criteria and which will give us pleasure for many years to come’.

This 25th anniversary occasion included a discussion between Oliver Caroe, architect and Founder of Caroe Architecture, and Luke Hughes, reflecting on the important role furniture plays in any building of distinction, in particular major university buildings, and how priorities have changed over recent years.

Caroe Architecture and Luke Hughes® have collaborated on many projects for Oxbridge colleges and are currently working together on the New College Song School.

Learn more about our academic clients here.

A New Library for City of London School for Boys

A New Library for City of London School for Boys

September 2016

On 23 September 2016 Sarah Fletcher, the Head of City of London School for Boys, cut the ribbon to open the new school library to staff and students, where Luke Hughes® has designed and manufactured a range of furniture.

The design objectives included not only making the library brighter and more comfortable for study, research and recreational reading, but also to offer more flexibility in the teaching spaces. Equally, the refurbishment offered the opportunity to open up some of the astonishing vistas across the Thames towards some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Ellis Whitcomb, the Assistant Head, wrote ‘I just want to say what a pleasure it has been, dealing with a team who are so clearly passionate about what they do, always positive and one hundred per cent professional … nothing but a positive attitude and helpfulness … their enthusiasm and professionalism infect everything around them’. The Head describes it as a library ‘now worthy of a university’.

This library project has been another fast-track design scheme for the education sector in general, and libraries in particular. Luke Hughes® has now completed nearly thirty similar projects. Learn more about past projects here.

The Athenaeum Club

The Athenaeum Club

July 2016

New walnut bookcases and display cases have just been installed in the Garden Room of the Athenaeum Club, a striking Grade 1 building originally designed by Decimus Burton in 1824. The pieces are made in walnut with patinated copper escutcheons and will house the club’s expanding library collection - one of the most comprehensive private libraries in London.

The club has in the past commissioned from Luke Hughes® a large amount of furniture including new display cases, bedroom furniture and occasional tables.

Over the last thirty years, Luke Hughes® has designed furniture for a number of notable London clubs, including the Reform, Oxford and Cambridge, Garrick and Beefsteak.

Read more about our institutional projects here.

Keystone Academy, Beijing - Our Latest Library Project

Keystone Academy, Beijing - Our Latest Library Project

June 2016

Luke Hughes® has just completed all the design work and manufacture for a library at Keystone Academy, Beijing. The school is a brand new Chinese international school offering a new model of education in China, aiming to create a new world school that is academically outstanding. It offers bilingual immersion in Chinese and English from the age of 5 all the way through to 18, promoting Chinese culture and identity in a world context and concentrating on building character and community in a residential setting. This is a significant departure from the normal state education; it’s a first for China and is quite unlike any other international schools that have set up there as satellites of other western private schools.

In the words of the principal Malcolm McKenzie, ‘famous libraries have captured the imagination of writers for millennia, especially those that have been ruined, burnt, or in other ways destroyed’. The design of this library, with an equal mix of Chinese and English books, is seen as critical in establishing the cultural identity of the new school. Luke Hughes® was commissioned in January 2016 to devise how best to interpret this. The aim is to create a fine blend of eastern and western aesthetics and sensibilities about both libraries and books and what they are likely to mean in the 21st century, in a world dominated by the world-wide web.

The project promises to be one of the largest projects in the 35-year history of Luke Hughes and Company and is on track for dispatch, on time and on budget, at the end of June, for installation at the end of August.

Read more about our library projects here.

New livery hall for the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers

New livery hall for the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers

May 2016

On 5 May 2016, the Court of the Leathersellers’ Company sat down at a new court table created by Luke Hughes® in their brand new livery hall, designed by Eric Parry Architects. The project was driven by architect Chris Burton and boasts an unusual yet luxurious combination of materials and finishes.

Luke Hughes® is also responsible also for new library furniture, the refurbishment of the company’s historic furniture and the re-engineering of the original mahogany dining hall tables in such a way that they can now be effortlessly folded away, stored, rearranged and reconfigured.

Over recent years, Luke Hughes® has designed furniture for many Livery Halls, including those of the Mercers, the Fishmongers, the Butchers, the Haberdashers, the Skinners, the Pewterers and the Carpenters.

Read more about our institutional projects here.

Critical acclaim for New York’s LGBTQ synagogue

Critical acclaim for New York’s LGBTQ synagogue

May 2016

In May 2016 Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum led prayers of dedication for the new home of the Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an inclusive New York-based LGBTQ synagogue featuring new worship and community spaces within a 1928 city landmark building.The project was overseen by New York firm Architecture Research Office and Luke Hughes® was commissioned to design new seating for both the sanctuary and chapel. 

The official opening coincided with receipt of many congratulatory letters including those from Barrack Obama, the Governor of New York State, the Mayor of New York, and a host of political leaders across the USA - a welcome sign of changing times.
The project has since attracted considerable architectural acclaim, not least from the New York Times and an erudite appraisal by Justin Davidson in NYMag. Davidson commends ARO for injecting ‘much meaning into a modest space’. He goes on: ‘history and symbolism weave through the building in intimate ways… and in the spots where it counts, custom luxury asserts itself – in the pews for instance, made in London by Luke Hughes, which are made of oak, for a durability that is symbolic as well as practical; curved to bring congregants as close together as possible; stackable so the room can be cleared for dancing; upholstered not just for comfort but also in memory of painful metal chairs.’

Luke Hughes first began working on the project three years ago and now has several other US synagogue projects on the drawing board.

Read more about this project here.

Dyson Centre completed

Dyson Centre completed

May 2016

Luke Hughes® has recently completed work on the new Dyson Centre for Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering.

The new centre, partly funded by acclaimed British engineer and entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, brings together a newly refurbished workshop, library and research space. Architects Nicholas Hare have created the new centre, bridging spaces that were once unconnected to form a creative hub that will produce a new generation of engineers.

Luke Hughes® were commissioned to design much of the new furniture including workshop benches and storage, research and study spaces, library desking and custom seating for the new bridge. Read more about the project here


Excitement for CBST’s new home

Excitement for CBST’s new home

April 2016

This month saw the opening of the new home for Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an inclusive synagogue on New York’s West 30th Street. The renovated building, overseen by Architecture Research Office, will provide a wealth of new community spaces for the growing congregation. Luke Hughes® first began working on the project three years ago, having been commissioned to design seating for the Sanctuary and Chapel.

Whilst we wait on final imagery of the space, you can read an article on the project in the New York Times here and below are a few reactions to CBST’s new home from social media…

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is open in NYC!

Posted by Architecture Research Office on Monday, 4 April 2016


Our most historic project site yet?

Our most historic project site yet?

April 2016

Last week we installed new furniture at what may be our oldest project site to date. St Bene’t’s Church in Cambridge is the oldest church in the county and celebrates its millennium in 2020. To mark the occasion the church are undertaking some refurbishments that will see some of the oldest parts of the church open up for new uses.

New Luke Hughes® stacking pews arranged in the Saxon West Tower

This includes the pre-1066 West Tower which has been sensitively renovated to become a cosy space for quiet reflection and shelter for young families during the busy weekend services. For the space we designed six stacking oak pews and a choir frontal which can be arranged in a variety of ways and neatly stacked to make way for those coming to ring the historic bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1588.

St Bene’t's Church tweets about their new Luke Hughes® furniture

New Luke Hughes® stacking pews arranged in the Saxon West Tower

Close up detail of the new pews

An alternative layout of the new pews

The new pews stacked against one wall

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