Using The Past To Design The Future

A look to the past design and architecture of old buildings helps formulate new ideas and inspiration for the design of new spaces within them. 

June sees the launch of the new Welcome Centre and Exhibition area for St Albans Cathedral, the oldest Christian site in Britain.

Our brief was very open initially. After a period of consultation and research our task was to create a sympathetically designed gift shop that pays homage to the architectural and design elements already found within the cathedral whilst giving it a contemporary edge. This is part of a much larger project that includes the new cafe, educational center for school children and an exhibition area. 

Matt Hext, one of our Senior Designers, shares the importance of presenting historic space in a more modern and engaging way. “This was a project steeped in history, my starting point was a very traditional route, that progressed with a contemporary delivery.”

“There was so much to take inspiration from; the rose windows and shrine with so many scene stealing aspects to focus on. However, it was the smaller architectural features that I particularly enjoyed playing with. There is amazing curve and depth within the ceilings and we wanted to use this to create a bespoke display system that works with facets and shape. The tiling detail found in various locations throughout the cathedral was also utilised and can now be found on display tables and the welcome desk.

The new gift shop helps present a new look to the past. This is where the reward is for any designer. You understand the context of what needs to be delivered, take inspiration and interpret how the future will look.”

Having such a rich environment to take inspiration helped us develop this beautiful project. To discuss your own design or fit out project, get in touch with our team.