Benchmark launch new pieces at London Design Festival 2012
English furniture maker Benchmark is introducing 8 brand new pieces alongside new versions of existing designs at this year's London Design Festival. Exhibiting at both designjunction and Decorex, Benchmark will present different pieces at each show.
The pieces have been designed by a range of leading designers including Terence Conran, Kay+Stemmer and Jens Risom, all of whom are represented in Benchmark's existing collection as well as designs by Benchmark's own in-house team.
Extraordinary Exhibit from Benchmark at London Design Festival 2011
Following the 'Made by Benchmark' workshop at The Tramshed during the 2010 London Design Festival, Benchmark resolved to develop a concept for this year's festival that would demonstrate not only their craftsmanship and design but also their innovative thinking and ability to deal with difficult and complex design problems. They've come up with an extraordinary exhibit.
Established by Terence Conran and Sean Sutcliffe in 1984, Benchmark is a design led manufacturer of furniture, specialist woodworking and metalwork that has built its reputation on a relentless attention to detail and finish. Combining traditional quality with modern technology, it has a proven track record in the design, manufacture and installation of furniture for offices, public institutions, hotels, bars, restaurants and private homes as well as complex architectural joinery. Over the years it has worked on a number of bespoke outdoor projects including the Eden Project, Alnwick Pavilion, Boundary Hotel Roof Garden and most recently the Woodland Trust Headquarters.
Benchmark moves into Street Furniture
English furniture maker Benchmark has forged a link with Wales and Wales, leading designers of street and park
Benchmark are now making and distributing the Wales & Wales collection of seating which is designed for landscape, corporate and leisure clients. Contemporary designs in FSC wood and metal include full benches, backless benches and chairs in various sizes and configurations that enhance urban or provincial schemes as well as the most sensitive architectural settings.
Benchmark in Milan 2011
A specially selected collection of Benchmark furniture including several new pieces will be presented at designjunction, a collaboration of UK brands exhibiting at the Zegna Headquarters, Via Savona 56, Zona Tortona during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 12-17 April 2011.
New Jens Risom Range
Jens Risom has collaborated with Rocket and Benchmark, who have jointly secured the European rights to reissue his 1950s and 1960s furniture designs.
Terence Conran Designs New Collection for Benchmark
Benchmark, designer and maker of bespoke furniture and specialist joinery, is introducing 20 new pieces to its domestic furniture range, available to order from 23 June 2010.
Made by Benchmark' for London Design Festival
Workshop and Bar
22-26 September 2010
As part of the London Design Festival this year, Benchmark will be transporting their Berkshire workshops to the Tramshed in East London. In the inspirational industrial building, previously a power station for the Shoreditch tram system, Benchmark's craftsmen will demonstrate the company's core values of best design, materials and craftsmanship in the most direct way possible - by making furniture in situ. Visitors can see a range of pieces being made, from domestic furniture to commercial projects, using a variety of specialist skills in woodworking, metalworking and upholstery.
In celebration of British craftsmanship and this special event, Benchmark will make a limited edition London Design Festival piece and give one away to a lucky visitor each day. Visitors can also enjoy a drink from the 'work in progress' bar whilst they watch the craftsmen at work.
'Made by Benchmark' will be exhibited at the The Tramshed in East London from 22-26 September. The Tramshed, featuring up to 15 high-end brands in a powerful exhibition of international design and creative collaborations, is set to be the premier destination at this year's London Design Festival. Luis De Oliveira, Managing Director of De La Espada and initiator of the exhibition, explains his inspiration for the event: "London is one of the creative crossroads of the world, with strengths across the many diverse fields of design, from fashion to graphics to advertising. Visitors from across the world view it as a point of reference. Despite this, we genuinely believed London needed an exhibition that strikes a balance between being imaginative and yet carefully curated. It is focused on quality not quantity, but large enough to attract and engage a significant number of visitors. This is the kind of exhibition that we feel has the opportunity of capturing the imagination of both the general and the professional public alike."
The Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX
Open daily 11am - 6pm www.thetramshedevent.co.uk
Bespoke Furniture and Fittings for the London Library
Leading joinery and metal workshop, Benchmark, has recently completed a large bespoke commission for the London Library, the world's largest independent lending library.
Evidence of Benchmark's craftsmanship can be seen throughout the library. Patinated brass, dark oak, reeded glass and leather in shades of oxblood have been incorporated throughout the library linking the rooms together and helping to merge old with new.
Working with architects, Haworth Tompkins, Benchmark have made around one hundred pieces of individual furniture, all with contemporary lines and designed for modern day use whilst harmonising with the historical setting and existing furniture and architectural features.
Reception desks and circulation counters were made for the Issue Hall creating an impressive entrance from St James's Square. Traditional features such as leather panels and patinated brass leaflet racks have been incorporated alongside modern day requirements such as computer housing and security gates. From the Mason's Yard entrance (home of the White Cube Gallery), visitors will walk through a new internal entrance door and screen made by Benchmark. Also made by Benchmark are the member's lockers, patinated brass radiator covers, brass and glass display notice boards and even cloak cupboards with in-built heaters for members' coats.
In the Prevost Room, Benchmark were commissioned to make reading desks and chairs. The chair was a bespoke design for the London Library and many hours were spent designing and prototyping a chair that would have the strength and durability to last a lifetime whilst ensuring maximum comfort for reading.
"As Benchmark only work with certified timbers, one of our key challenges on this project was to make the new timber work with the 130 year old existing mouldings and pillars made from unsustainable tropical hardwoods.. We used certified oak for the majority of furniture. We then had to develop special stain colours to tone with the existing mahogany and teak. For the 4.5m high replacement book hoist, we sourced Sapele, a certified hardwood that looks very similar to teak" explained Alex Harris, Benchmark's designer.
Benchmark, founded 25 years ago by Sean Sutcliffe and Terence Conran, handles commercial commissions for architects and interior designers. It employs a 40 strong team of designers and craftsmen with their own in-house upholstery, veneering, spray shops, metal fabrication and specialist metalworking in zinc, pewter, copper and bronze. It also has a domestic furniture line sold direct to the public and Litton Furniture, a workshop supplying bespoke furniture and interiors for the luxury sector. The company holds the Queen's Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development, the first furniture maker to receive this prestigious award.
New Jens Risom Range
Jens Risom has collaborated with Rocket Gallery and Benchmark, who have jointly secured the European rights to reissue his 1950's and 1960's furniture designs. The first collection of nine pieces has been creatively directed by Jonathan Stephenson of Rocket and made by Benchmark - with the close involvement of Risom himself.
The group of furniture released by Rocket includes an easy chair, a side chair, a desk, various coffee tables, two magazine tables and Risom's famous upholstered bench.
A catalogue of the new furniture collection is available. The pieces may be viewed on the dedicated website www.jensrisom.com or at Rocket, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ. Call 020 7729 7594 for further details.
Benchmark makes giant table for Queen's College, Oxford
Benchmark, leading furniture makers and specialist joiners has just designed and made one of its single biggest commissions ever - a table to seat thirty four Senior Fellows at Queen's College, Oxford.
"Finding a tree long enough to provide timber for the 8.4 metre long table was a challenge in itself and fitting it into the workshop was no mean feat either" explained Steven Owens, Benchmark's designer. "In the end we had to cut holes into the walls of the workshop to allow the timber to be fed through the planking and sanding machines."
Made from solid English fumed oak, the grand table is partnered with thirty two dining chairs and two carvers. Benchmark has also made two smaller tables and a further twenty two chairs for the dining room.
Queen's College commissioned Benchmark upon the recommendation of architects, Berman Guedes Stretton who have worked with Benchmark before, most recently on the refurbishment of the college bar at Brasenose College. Berman Gueddes Stretton were briefed by the college to design more accessible and sustainable kitchen and dining facilities for the growing college population whilst being sympathetic to the building's history.
Benchmark wins a Wallpaper* 2010 Design Award
Benchmark is thrilled to announce that we have won a Wallpaper* 2010 Design Award for one of our new furniture pieces created in collaboration with Rocket Gallery and Tomoko Azumi.
The Hexad table made in solid oak won the 'Best coffee table' award in the 'Best domestic design' section. This table, the first of a number of products that we are developing with Tomoko and Rocket was premiered in Rocket's exhibition Book a table last autumn and is currently on show and available from the gallery at the Tea Building in Shoreditch. Further products are due to be launched as part of the London Design Festival in September.
Tomoko Azumi : Hexad (stacking tables)
2009, 55 x 53 x 22 cm , manufactured in solid oak
£370 each , £995 set of three
Available from Rocket -
Tea Building | 56 Shoreditch High Street | London E1 6JJ | United Kingdom T +44 20 7729 7594 | F +44 20 7729 0079 | rocketgallery.com
Benchmark wins a third Wood Award
Benchmark are thrilled to have won a highly coveted Wood Award in the 2009 furniture category with the wonderfully crafted L'Arche Cabinet, part of the Litton Collection. The piece, which used lace-wood veneers and stood out for its memorable vanishing geometric effect, was a very popular choice with the judges for aesthetic reasons alone, but was also said to have "commendable attention to detail, both on the inside and out".
The Wood Awards was launched more than thirty years ago as the Carpenters' Award and is now Britain's premier award for wood in buildings and furniture. The aim of The Wood Awards is to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation in wood, the worlds most naturally sustainable material.
Re-launched in 2003, The Wood Awards have made their mark on the architectural and design landscape, becoming a 'mark of excellence' in wood, with past Gold Winners including leading names such as Glenn Howells (for the Savill Building) and Simon Conder (for Pinion's Barn).
Judges comprise high profile architects, engineers, furniture designer / makers, wood specialists and leading architectural journalists.
Litton was established by renowned cabinetmaker Paul Litton in 1962. The company makes high quality domestic furniture for top end retailers and interior designers requiring bespoke pieces for clients in the luxury sector. Litton has an experienced team of 10 craftsmen highly skilled in cabinet making, specialist joinery and upholstery. In 2007, Litton was taken over by Benchmark, one of the most technologically advanced workshops in Britain and a leading supplier of commercial and domestic furniture.
It is a time for celebration at Benchmark, one of the UK's leading specialist joinery and furniture makers. Christmas has come early for the West Berkshire based workshops who are delighted to have been involved in several award winning projects in 2009.
Working with David Collins, Benchmark made luxurious furniture in the finest of materials for the Connaught Bar which has recently been awarded the AA 'Hotel of the Year' and 'Best New Interior of the Year' by the British Design Awards which recognises the best new work launched by British designers for both UK and international brands. Benchmark has gone on to make furniture for the penthouse apartment and new 30 bedroom west wing extension at the Connaught.
The Boundary has just scooped the prize for Hotel of the Year in the European Hotel Design Awards. Benchmark made furniture for the twelve guest bedrooms and bathrooms and five suites that were inspired by designers and design movements admired by Terence Conran Working closely with Terence Conran and Conran and Partners, Benchmark developed wardrobes, sideboards, bedside tables, bed boxes, desks, mirrors and bathroom furniture based on a common design. Using their wide knowledge and experience of different materials and techniques, Benchmark used different woods, finishes and fabrics to create a distinctive look in keeping with the theme of each room.
For the Fleet Street restaurant Lutyens, presented with Best Newcomer in this season's BMW Square Meal Awards, Benchmark were commissioned to make the fixed joinery and free standing furniture for the restaurant, bar and members club including a magnificent polished pewter and mahogany bar with geometric mirrored paneling in black and bronze.
Most recently, Benchmark have made bespoke furniture for Oxford's Ashmolean Museum including the Ashmolean Dining Room, Education Centre, galleries, boardroom and offices as part of the critically acclaimed £61m overhaul of the oldest public museum in Britain.
Sean Sutcliffe, Managing Director and founder of Benchmark said "We are always delighted to be involved in such inspirational projects and are proud of the significant part that we have played in these award winning spaces. Delivering excellent service and superior craftsmanship is fundamentally what Benchmark is about and we continually invest in our people and equipment to ensure that we are best placed to continue to win exciting and high profile projects in the future". He went on to say "It is not only our commercial projects that have won awards recently. Litton Furniture, our sister workshop, has just been awarded a Wood Award for the L'Arche Cabinet, part of The Litton Collection which was launched last year". Given that the Wood Awards recognize "outstanding design and craftsmanship" it is no wonder that the team at Benchmark are in good spirits.
A new look for the Groucho Club
Benchmark are working closely with StudioBGArchitects on the design and refurbishment of the 20 bedrooms of the Groucho Club. Benchmark will make beds, headboards, bedside tables, wardrobes, desks and tv cabinets in oak and leather. With simple, clean lines and natural materials and colour tones, the rooms will have timeless appeal.
New Work at the Connaught
Following their work for the Penthouse, Benchmark have been commissioned to make furniture for the new 30 bedroom west wing extension of the Connaught due for completion in August. Luxurious materials such as bog oak, burr walnut, bronze metalwork and embossed leather have been used for the sofas, stools, wall cabinets and mini bar storage units.
Eight Members Club
Benchmark, has recently completed a large bespoke commission for the stunning new rooftop Eight Members Club located in Finsbury Square.
The 5th floor is home to the club's reception and dining room set against the backdrop of the stunning city skyline. Evidence of Benchmark's craftsmanship can be seen throughout the room. Brass, dark oak, rippled glass and leather in shades of pewter, plum and forest green have been incorporated cleverly throughout the club from the central ribbed banquette seating topped with reeded glass screens and brass detailing to the solid dark oak dining table with leather inlay in the private dining room. Also made by Benchmark are a range of leather topped coffee & sofa tables and waiter stations with reeded glass surrounds.
Upstairs on the 6th floor, the member's lounge and bar can be found together with the library and a private meeting room. Benchmark's stunning polished pewter bar creates a focal point for the bar area which is separated from the lounge with distinctive screens. Made by Benchmark, these acoustic screens have pleated silk lower panels and reeded glass upper panels allowing light to flow through.
The attention to detail continues through to the library with high gloss lacquered desks, and an innovative high gloss lacquered 'charging station' which allows clients to lock away their laptops whilst charging them.
Steve Owens, Benchmark's designer for the project said "We were pleased to be involved in this exciting project - the combination of materials and distinctive design touches has resulted in a totally unique and luxurious space.
Furniture and Flying Carpets for Boundary
Benchmark, has recently completed a large commission for Boundary, a new restaurant, bar, and hotel project designed by Terence Conran in Shoreditch, East London.
In Boundary Restaurant and Bar, evidence of Benchmark's craftsmanship can be seen throughout from the elegant upholstered chairs to the curved walnut wall panelling and the banquette seating created to fit perfectly into the alcoves of the converted Victorian warehouse. Also made by Benchmark are the zinc and stainless steel crustacean stands, the innovative folding 'greenhouse style' cheese trolleys and the impressive wine wall made to house the five hundred strong collection of wines. For the bar area, Benchmark crafted a pewter topped bar with exquisite burr wood panels and a mirrored back.
Pete Lowe, Benchmark's designer for the project said "We were pleased to be involved in this exciting project as it required such a diverse set of skills. Creating the 30 metres of 'flying carpet' floating from the restaurant ceiling was certainly a new challenge for us, but we are delighted with the magical results." The panels, made from canvas and plywood, inset with fibre optics in the shape of the constellations, are so large that they needed to be lifted in to place by crane.
All the furniture in Albion, the ground floor cafe, was made by Benchmark including the unique 'tractor stools' made from replicas of antique tractor seats and the traditional style vegetable racks and boxes displaying the British produce sold in the food store. Outdoor furniture and zinc work has been made for Boundary Rooftop and bedroom furniture has been made for Boundary Rooms
Benchmark shortlisted for highly coveted Wood Awards
Benchmark are delighted to have been shortlisted for two projects in the 2009 Wood Award. The Wood Awards was launched more than thirty years ago as the Carpenters' Award and is now Britain's premier award for wood in buildings and furniture. The aim of The Wood Awards is to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation in wood, the world's most naturally sustainable material.
Benchmark win contract for the fit-out of Kew Gardens Herbarium...
Benchmark are currently making bespoke furniture for the reception, offices and reading rooms in the new 5000m2 wing to the existing Herbarium and Botanic library. Founded in 1853, the Herbarium is the world's leading centre for the study of plant diversity. Designed by Edward Cullinan Architects, the new building will provide long awaited additional archive space for Kew's priceless collection of dried plant specimens, botanic books and illustrations. The new wing is linked to the existing herbarium by a timber and glass drum. This houses a circular reading room and ground floor reception that opens onto a newly created south facing courtyard.
Transforming the Ashmolean for the twenty first century...
Benchmark has been commissioned to make reception desks, seating, display plinths, desks and meeting room furniture for the largest museum development in the country. The Ashmolean museum is a world-class museum of art and archaeology situated in Oxford.
The new building will comprise 35 new galleries featuring the redisplay of the rich and varied permanent collections. It will introduce 4 large temporary exhibition galleries, a new education centre with additional study rooms, new conservation studios, a walkthrough between the Museum and the Cast Gallery and Oxford's first rooftop café.
Creating the ultimate in luxury for The Connaught...
Benchmark, in conjunction with their sister company Littons are creating luxurious furniture for The Penthouse Apartment at the Connaught, Positioned at the highest point of the hotel on the sixth floor, overlooking Carlos Place, with sweeping views across Mayfair, designer David Collins has approached the interior as a one-off residential project, creating an iconic living space. The result is a private Mayfair apartment, designed for a discerning clientele: well travelled, with eclectic tastes in art, culture and literature.
There is a king-sized master bedroom, with a generous seating area, a huge walk-in wardrobe with en suite bathroom leading off it; a king-sized guest bedroom with dressing room and en suite bathroom; a spacious sitting-room with a double height vaulted ceiling, feature fireplace, romantic window seats and wrap around balconies complete with topiary; a dining-room seating up to ten guests; guest cloakroom and butler's pantry. Both bathrooms and dressing rooms are truly spectacular.
Restoring glory to The Royal Turnberry Hotel...
Benchmark are currently in the process of making over 450 individual pieces of furniture for the bedrooms, suites and public spaces of the Royal Turnberry Hotel as part of a £30million refurbishment which will see the 101-year hotel restored to the vision of the original architect, James Miller. Working in conjunction with a heritage consultant, the refurbishment will ensure that the building's heritage is maintained while delivering beautifully-designed stylish hotel rooms and facilities.
Internationally-renowned interior designer Mary Fox Linton, who is leading the refurbishment said "The chance to restore this hotel to its former glory is a wonderful opportunity and I feel so passionate about it. When you arrive, you can't help but smile. The interiors of the hotel will be brought back to their original grandeur with a contemporary interpretation of James Miller's original vision for the hotel. I have tried to look at the hotel through the eyes of Miller and interpret what I think he would have envisioned for the hotel, maximising open spaces, comfort and of course the very best of quality."
Bespoke furniture for Lutyens...
Benchmark is working with Sir Terence Conran on the furniture and fittings for Lutyens, a restaurant, bar and private members' club occupying the old Reuters building on Fleet Street, which is planned to open in June.