Homerton College’s university dining hall furniture

Homerton Dining Hall, Homerton College Cambridge

Education & Research

The University of Cambridge’s Homerton College features one of the finest examples of a university dining hall, complete with bespoke university dining hall furniture we created for the contemporary design project. It is a soaring, compelling space built for both the staff and the students to dine and socialise, set amongst the listed buildings that house the rest of the college’s amenities. The dining hall is an imposing, majestic space, defined by its triple-height ceilings below a butterfly roof, at once contrasting and complementing the surrounding 19th century Arts & Crafts architecture, including the Grade II listed Ibberson Building


Sustainability at Homerton College's university dining hall

We were thrilled to be involved in the project, which, with the very same principles we work on to design our university dining hall furniture, was designed with longevity in mind. The building’s architect, Feilden Fowles, designed the university’s dining hall for a minimum 100-year lifespan. With guidance from sustainability consultant, Max Fordham, the university dining hall exceeds several environmental sustainability standards and targets, including its passive ventilation, all-electric approach and its ground source heat pump, reducing CO2 emissions by 40%. 

Like all our chairs, the LH-42 dining hall chairs we created for Homerton College’s university dining hall are engineered for a 30-50+ year lifespan. All of our furniture, including dining hall chairs and tables, is designed to be refurbished, not replaced, helping to ensure that it can pass from one generation to the next to lock up the carbon for as long as possible. We manufacture each piece in European oak; a tough timber that wears better than any other, offering the shortest possible distance from the forest to the mill to the workshop.

University furniture in architecture

Each of Luke Hughes’ projects involves considerable deliberation and consultation to determine the most suitable bespoke furniture to elevate a space, accompanying the architecture without detracting from its beauty. For the dining hall furniture at Homerton College, the dining hall chairs and dining hall tables were chosen to elevate the timber frame of the highly modern structure. The expressed sweet chestnut glulam timber frame elements on the upper part of the building and the timber wall cladding are emphasised by our solid European oak dining hall furniture. The LH-42 chairs and Athena folding tables are arranged to echo the sheer geometry of the space and encourage conversation with banquet-style, communal tables - the perfect choice for the bustle and excitement of the social hub of a university dining hall.

Of the project as a social melting pot, Lord Simon Woolley, the Principle of Homerton College, says, “Our new dining hall is a beautiful beacon which from the outside speaks to our ambition and values, and on the inside provides space for our students, Fellows, staff and guests to have conversations, debates, music, theatre and of course, fine dining, all under this magical roof.” We continually aspire to create furniture to cater to myriad functions, groups or activities, providing, in this case, dining hall furniture to accommodate each facet of university life under what is a very magical roof indeed. 


An Arts & Crafts connection

Homerton College’s university dining hall is undeniably and purposefully distinctive from the exterior; its salmon-pink concrete base and lightly contrasting teal faience tiles stand in a friendly unity with the redbrick Arts & Crafts buildings that flank it. However, the glistening ceramic mantle evokes the Victorian architectural trend for such features, perfected in the 21st century by the architectural ceramics fabricator, Darwen Terracotta. The butterfly roof is a statement of progression and modernity, which in turn, pays homage to the pointed pediments of the Ibberson Building and the Victorian Gothic Revival Great Hall’s copper-clad spire. 

The university dining hall is an example of 21st century Arts & Crafts, chiming with the influence of the movement on our work at Luke Hughes. The dining hall furniture we have installed at Homerton College is intricately linked with the English Arts & Crafts movement, combining an authentic approach to design and a commitment to craft, materials and construction. Our university dining hall furniture could find no better home than in Homerton College’s university dining hall, a true modern-day response to the Arts & Crafts movement.

See also:

Architects Journal

Feilden Fowles










Photos courtesy and © David Valinsky 


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