Researching the life and works of the world-renowned architect
We pinched ourselves when we were commissioned to make some furniture inspired by the work of the famous English architect & designer Sir Edwin Lutyens. The project involved the restoration of a townhouse with history – a house of architectural interest which makes it extra exciting to craft furniture for. The original cabinetry had been removed over time in various renovations and we weren’t able to find any records of what the pieces had originally looked like. The project brief was to take influence from Lutyens interiors work, to create cabinetry sensitive to the surroundings, to fit comfortably in terms of proportions, design & craftsmanship in the fine townhouse.
So, we set to researching the life & works of Lutyens, a task we really enjoyed:
The main source of inspiration for the piece featured here, was a photograph we found online by Country Life magazine, of a crockery display cabinet. Lutyens had designed the cabinet for Crooksbury - an Arts and Crafts style, now Grade II-listed house in Tilford, Surrey. It is a stunning piece of detailed fitted furniture, with grand proportions & carefully crafted woodwork throughout. In particular our cabinet makers studied the mouldings, as it’s these details that define the shape and character of furniture design. Decorative features would have been used to highlight the importance of a room – so if the room was for entertaining guests it would need to be more inspiring and the mouldings would therefore have been more impressive.
Taking inspiration from the Lutyens Crooksbury crockery cabinet, we created a detailed moulding to sit above the base cabinetry section which continues into the Dado Rail that features throughout the rest of the room. This really grounds the piece in the room and makes it seem like it’s always been there.
The Crooksbury piece also inspired the gentle arches at the top of the doors and the base cabinetry design with the unique square patten and detailed mouldings which gives great definition to the overall piece.
He was an usual architect in that he often designed both the outside and the inside of English country houses. Lutyens was born & studied in London, but grew up in the quintessentially English village of Thursley, Surrey, not far from our workshop.
His first commission in 1888 was at Crooksbury - a private home in Farnham Surrey. During this project he met the horticulturist, garden designer and artist Gertrude Jekyll and together they developed a partnership working together on country-house gardens starting with Munstead Wood house in Godalming.
Projects included a cathedral, an Oxford college, grand Country homes, the last Castle to be built in England - Castle Drogo (now National Trust), churches, war Memorials, New Dehli, Midland Banks, Schools, & Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House (the one on display at Windsor castle).
What we love about all his work is that craftsmanship was at the centre of all of his designs. And today Lutyens continues to inspire not only craftsmen like us, but even paint makers – the colour ‘Sir Lutyens Sage’ by Little Greene was inspired by Lutyens Castle Drogo.
References: The Lutyens Trust, Country Life, Wikipedia
We are bespoke cabinet makers. If you are restoring a Lutyens or Period Property and would be interested in discussing your bespoke furniture requirements, please do arrange a consultation with our Master Craftsmen by calling our workshop 01483 202 143 or emailing email@example.com