About the project
We were thrilled to work on a number of bespoke commissions 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 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 were 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 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 we 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.
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