How careful design can help special spaces tell their story

Careful design of large bespoke oak display case

We have written many times about our expertise in designing purposeful furniture for historic buildings and the care and respect required. When the piece of furniture itself is to be used to help an historic building, church or cathedral tell its own story, extra thought and careful design is needed to engage visitors.

Helping Wakefield Cathedral tell its story

We have been honoured to work with Wakefield Cathedral on several special church furniture projects and we were delighted to be asked to design a cabinet that would help the cathedral display items going back centuries that are rich in history and have significance for the cathedral and those interested in learning more about its past.

The practical requirements

The items on display are historically very important and the cabinet has to keep them protected whilst also giving people a good view. The cabinet is likely to be a big part of cathedral life for generations to come so it needs to stand the test of time.

With all this in mind we designed practicality and strength in right from the start. The frame is reinforced with steel and the glass is axe-proof, protecting the contents and keeping them secure. The main purpose, of course, is that visitors can see the objects inside so the frame has been kept simple to allow for lots of glass and a good view from every angle. Castors make it easy to move the cabinet for flexibility and maintenance and wiring trunks have been integrated for lighting.

The aesthetics

The oak finish complements the other wood and furniture in the cathedral and we have given it a lovely hand oiled finish.  Despite its simplicity, this piece of furniture echoes its surroundings thanks to the wave of the cornice and arched décor of the skirt. It may be a new addition but this cabinet looks as if it is meant to be here. Indeed, it is part of the cathedral’s historic journey and we hope it will be admired for centuries as visitors take advantage of the fact that some of its most historic treasures are now easily accessible, providing an insight into the building’s fascinating heritage.