The Church Job : Our Lady of Victories Kensington
This was a 2-year collaboration (always referred to as the church job) with my friend and fellow designer Gareth Neal. On the recommendation of Heal’s Design Director Carmel Allen, Gareth and I were introduced to Monsignor Jim Curry who was looking for a 're-ordering' of the Sanctuary of his church on Kensington High Street. There had been several partial reworkings since the 1970s, but following a major building refurbishment between 2010 and 2015 it had become apparent that the reconfigured space 'lacked visual cohesion'. It was now time to address the disparate collection of ecclesiastical furniture currently in place.
Initial meetings went well, and Gareth and I were jointly awarded the commission. The new furnishings were to include an Ambo (pulpit), a pedestal for the Holy Tabernacle, ceremonial candle holders, and all the necessary furniture which included principal chairs, choir benches, and credence tables. The designs were to take into consideration of the history of the church (it was designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott and completed in1958; its predecessor having been bombed in WWII), and a new Reredos which had recently been completed by the religious artist Stephen Foster.
From there began an amazing journey following in the manner of a traditional commission for the improvement of this beautiful parish church. Gareth and I designed fifteen original pieces, modified the existing Altar, and worked with leading craftsmen in wood, brass, and stone to get everything produced. The result, we hope, is a carefully considered solution to the needs of furnishings for a modern church and contemporary congregation.
The new Sanctuary was formally opened at a celebration concert which took place as part of London Design Festival 2017 and in 2019 the project was shortlisted for the Art+Christianity Awards.