The Magnificent Maggnom Opus
So, no pressure on us then in designing and supplying tables for the aero engine division headquarters in Victoria. But the spec for this project was exacting and drove us to innovate too. Can you see the slight shadows on the glass stinger? Those dots are magnetic flush caps for microphone sockets. The desk itself looks like solid European oak. Rolls Royce wanted a boat-shaped table seating 24 that was movable while looking firmly fixed.
But it flips into six sections. This is from one of our other ranges of meeting room furniture, Kimber. Kimber is designed to have a more European feel, with large castors a feature on movable tables. Fixed variations have similar shaped legs. The flaps are in matching veneers and follow the table shape. Cable exit routes are arranged on three sides of each flap. Tannin in the wood goes black on exposure to ammonia. These legs are polished stainless steel. Opus Magnum fitted out the select committee rooms in Portcullis House. If wear and tear does take its toll, well, those tables are solid European oak and can be resanded to pristine condition.
See the mikes? Committee proceedings are recorded and can be broadcast across all media platforms. The logistics are immensely complex. Accommodating all that technology made the task of casting the bespoke steel legs fiendishly difficult. The central voids links to a specially designed multi-pin plug in the foot which connects directly into sockets in the floor.
Then, we won the tender for refitting the magnificent Moses Room next to the House of Lords chamber. It included the design as well as manufacture and installation. These tables are relatively light — the oak is braced by a concealed aluminium frame. Next, those steel floor boxes. The top may look almost medieval.
When closed, the surface is flush. Open it, and a double pivot raises a stop locking each table exactly and instantly into place. Cabling then just plugs in. Nothing shows. And the committee can meet. Oxbridge colleges occupy a special place in British society. To get in is a terrific achievement for students. And, for us, being accepted to work on the fabric of these institutions is just as much of an accolade. The bookshelves are clad in solid oak. The curved help desk has a lot going on: different levels, glass, post lipping with flush veneer and a discreet brass bell.
That led to a project — still underway — within the college chapel, which was consecrated in But we are subtly employing modern technology to solve two tricky issues. People are generally taller these days. So, the hymn book stands now seem awkwardly low — a problem aggravated by poor light. Slatted higher level rests with LED strips should help furnish an unintrusive answer, however huge the chorister. The line between craftsmanship and fine art can be narrow. Here, we think we crossed it.
Along the way there was creativity, challenge, drama and it ended with a couple of naive Brits being treated by the local union boss to a night on the town in the Big Apple. Winning this tender in was a major achievement for a relatively young firm. We were to develop and manufacture all the fixtures for the Nicole Farhi flagship store in New York. The couture was to be suspended from elliptical walnut rails that curved and tapered. Some would remain horizontal, others descend to the floor. Vertical rails would support elegantly convex walnut shelves.
The designs were developed and fabricated here in London. That meant the designer and Ms. Farhi herself visiting our workshop. She looked sceptical. And she rang her office to summon 20 heavy winter coats as a test. No problem. Inside the rails is a steel core, rigid but still able to flex like wood. Those bronze escutcheons pictured concealed secure floor fixings. Its silicon bronze frame holds 6, turned walnut beads. It is a definitely work of art.
The upholstered benches, with a delightful side chamfer, are also silicon bronze. And accessories were displayed in our walnut laminate trays. Oh, and that union thing? Well, Opus Magnum installs every job we do. So, we arrived in Manhattan with our truck, as we would in the UK. And we were non-union labour. After some fancy footwork and negotiation, it was all smoothed out. It was our responsibility to ensure that this old and fragile treasure remains perfectly preserved and free of atmospheric contamination.
The pull out drawers have gas sprung acrylic lids and rubber seals. They open automatically and soft close. Each is different. The framework is laminated ash following the curved architecture of the Cocoon. We hope he is happy with the way this irreplaceable archive is being kept for future generations. Do you see the cables emerging from the table leg? Well, barely. To achieve this precision with all the tables we supplied to the ratings agency, we templated the positioning for the boxes. Machining a boardroom table this size to get the side curvature perfect requires advanced computer programming.
The general meeting tables are similarly post lipped. And the column legs are centrally positioned for maximum legroom. How we first linked up is quite a tale. It was our bread and butter. When they commissioned John Pawson for their Bond Street flagship store, Jigsaw wanted us to work with him. Such refined work demands impeccable craftsmanship. The guys love going from one thing to another. Architects, designers and craftspeople know the jargon and the technical terms. After careful consultation with the client, we designed a living room AV wall of elm veneers laid in a random fashion not as easy as it sounds.
Spinneybeck suede upholstered doors revealed made to measure storage units. At first, we fretted. And then we fritted. The answer, a process called fritting to render the perimeters opaque. So I had to rethink it. The laser cut steel skeleton and rollers supporting its smooth action are invisible.
The table was for a private residence at Albion Riverside. We also made these cupboards with their huge mm high polyester gloss doors. Eldridge Smerin have been a case in point. Take these screens we made with them for the Design Council. The smart solid wood kitchen tables are archetypal Eldridge Smerin. But making it work is where we come in. When one layer gets worn or dirty, you just peel it off.
Other collaborations include seating for a department store in Kuwait, domestic projects and, more recently, offices for the Oppenheimer group.
"magnum opus" in Portuguese
This luxury hotel in the Cotswolds wanted about 20 beds, desks and wardrobes. The desks are cantilevered — no legs. This office fit-out was unique in so many ways. Where to start! The minimalist round desk? The boardroom table with a pop-up screen? Or the room length granite top?
Take the challenge of speed, size and cost
And we had to figure it all out. BDP trusted us to deliver something special. Architects know they can delegate as much as they like to us. The table has a leather perimeter with stainless steel inlays and a central walnut panel. Look closely for the cutout housing the screen. It has bespoke screen covers and the table edging is classic Opus Magnum quality in the detail: leather to walnut with metal inlay and shadow gaps. Around the offices, the circular steel meeting tables have the same inlays. Unfussy and functional, the shape encourages the free exchange of ideas.
This giant refectory table stretches an impressive mm. To maintain the visual impact, all the supports had to be concealed. Living space on boats is always pretty tight. And that was definitely the case for this splendid boathouse on Virginia Water in Surrey. Yet, in an area barely five metres square, we fitted a kitchen, bathroom, office, perimeter seating and a comfortable central area that doubles as a bedroom. We maximised the space by minimising embellishment. There are no door handles, for example. They are all touch opening. We also did the stonework: a good example of how Opus Magnum is a one-stop shop handling all materials, not just timber.
Unusually for us, the furniture was just a fraction of our work in this Central London reception area. Teaming up with a small contractor, we did the lot — the stone floor, the electrics and all the walls. Oh, and we also fitted a Corian bathroom. That means these tables look permanent but they are very versatile.
Typically they cost up to a third less than our individual designs with no sacrifice in quality, making them highly competitive with any middle or upper end manufacturer. We took the clients to a specialist mill in Switzerland to choose the perfect figured European walnut veneer for their magnificent boardroom table. This extensive bespoke range was developed with furniture consultancy, Operandum. Note the graceful central lectern fixed to the floor.
The boardroom table has several features worth mentioning. The curve follows the arc of a large circle, with the veneer as spokes radiating from the centre. We also designed furniture for meeting rooms, a library area, executive offices and broker pods with acid etched glass tables. Three courtrooms. Fifteen offices. All different. The Supreme Court is a constitutional departure for the UK but one steeped in history. So, you get the idea. This was very special. Both ancient and modern.
Everything had to be top notch and pitch perfect. Two are in panelled rooms — the fittings reflect that. One is a new build — and ditto. Courtroom One, pictured, is the grandest. This is a nice example of radial veneer on a timber clad steel structure. The bureaus are post lipped, with replaceable leather pads.
Tomoko added some lovely finesses, like the finger pull on this pedestal. Beside the desk is the what-not. Popular in the nineteenth century for displaying china, ornaments and what not, here they convey case papers and files. So, a historical setting meeting judicial needs today — and for future Justices not yet at primary school, let alone law school. Did we get it right? Well, you decide. You can watch the televised proceedings or, better still, pop along and try out our fantastic public benches. Making our legal system more accessible was one of the drivers behind establishing the Court.
Being part of that is another reason this was such a lovely job. The well proportioned credenzas have matt, acid etched, bronze, glass doors. The combination with the walnut finish we chose is satisfyingly complementary.
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- Liquid Swords; Magnum Opus.
And, dare we say, it invokes memories of days when having money in the bank meant you could sleep easy. One of the towering giants in the history of science worked at this bench. Well, not precisely this one. For the Royal Institution, we broke one of our unwritten rules: we made a reproduction. And it was fun. The actual bench Michael Faraday used when he presented his Christmas lecture in was delapidated beyond repair.
But this is a faithful replica. The lecture itself has become an annual televised event. We even copied the sink, for practical demonstrations. Powers of observation aside, our version is electronically height adjustable and can be easily dismantled and wheeled out. Many of our projects require furniture in keeping with the architecture. Here, the bench is a keystone in the architecture of this Grade 1 listed building in Mayfair.
If all that science and history leaves you needing a drink, head for the bar. We also fitted that and supplied other bespoke work too. At Squire Saunders there is a little of everything: Scottish leather, Arabescato stone, smoked eucalyptus sourced in London, figured and burr European walnut via Switzerland. The list goes on: marble, steel….. So many different shapes and sizes. But strip off the surface and, underneath, these tables are all the same: all based on our Exchange range. Stylistic sympathies need to cross cultures as well as generations. We think this series of boardroom and meeting tables for SMBC in figured eucalyptus does have a distinctly Japanese flavour.
Our cable management systems totally lend themselves to the traditional Japanese preference for eliminating clutter. This law firm occupies a Lutyens listed building. Edwin Lutyens was renowned for his skill in adapting older styles to contemporary needs. Here, we did almost the reverse. That symbiosis between architecture and furniture results in a pleasingly retro touch to the dining area and client meeting rooms.
All were radially veneered and post lipped in solid walnut for longevity. Whether for eating or meeting, those slender clad pedestal bases give plenty of leg room.
Some have balancing steel floor plates, others are bolted to the floor. Afterwards, the tops are trolleyed off while the legs remain. Just like those clever toys, our design allows the U-shaped legs to reconfigure themselves, snapping together in threes to support freestanding round dining tables. Transforming back again for council sessions is surprisingly simple. Our floor boxes accurately locate the table legs, connecting them to power and data for the delegates.
Location, location, location! There was lots of buttoned leather upholstery. The resulting surface is beautifully smooth and tough as old boots. But we are. Choice and chance came together here. But it works so well in this location, especially with black ABS edging, the brightly coloured gloss credenzas and matching back painted glass. Some tables are fixed. Others are flip-top. But observe the feet. With or without our low level castors, they look the same. They line up with the matching credenzas and refreshments can be lifted from the top tier on two fitted trays.
We love wood in all its forms. The client was so pleased that we were invited back to furnish the offices of the chairman and other executives. The tenants in this small Soho office block would be bringing their own stuff. The architects provided the empty space and this…. Oak and glass slabs are internally bolted together. With light diffusing from LED strips threaded through. You know, just to make it a bit of a challenge. Both the wood and the glass are laminated. This striking linear reception desk features a full length light box.
The crystal clear, low iron glass is screen printed to produce an lovely even glow from the LED strips inside. A grid of limestone panels on the front and sides completes the effect. The overall result is stunning. For the conference rooms, we manufactured more than eighty tables in straight grain, figured maple. Stylish steel columns conceal the complex cabling requirement. What Pernod Ricard wanted was a contemporary and lively interior. So, we made them an interesting cocktail.
A specially developed tapered conical leg has a removable cabling hatch. America, they say, is a Big Country. And winning this tender from State Street of the US for their London headquarters saw us producing pieces to a grand scale. The huge boardroom table is attractively mitred at the corners and gently curved along the sides.
The tables have pedestal legs clad in satin stainless steel. They are curved with a nosing: yet another example of Opus Magnum combining aesthetics and functionality in cable management. That sensation of space is enhanced by the finely judged attenuated proportions of some pieces. The perimeter seating seems to stretch towards the horizon. The credenza is no less than seven metres long.
As a big player on the corporate scene, many companies choose Gensler for a reliable standard of service. In turn, Gensler regularly come to us, knowing how to mix and match our products for the best effect. However, the contrasting credenzas are fully bespoke; finished in black lacquer, with back painted glass tops and slim, stainless steel feet. The whole is greater than the parts. The seven metre long wall of this marketing suite in Hanover Square is seamless, sculpted Corian, showing a map of London. There are full height high gloss polyester lacquered panels, lower level polyester model plinths and wall hung credenzas.
A fabric upholstered wall frames a multi screen display. Detailing how all these materials meet up is crucial. Our holistic approach means we consider that fully before we start. As you can see, it works. It takes time to get the details right. Almost all are in ebonised, straight grain European oak the kitchen table, however, is walnut. The cabinet doors conceal pivot hinges and the refinement fully extends to the felt lined drawers, which also fully extend. Our cable management skills came in very useful for this glorious bed.
From it, you can control the TV that lifts from the nearby credenza. We get around twenty commissions a year like this. From design approval to delivery is about eight weeks. Here, many of the tables lifted onto specially fabricated trolleys, keeping rooms flexible. The client chose lacquer and back painted glass for the storage units. When not needed, they glide away easily on our low profile castors.
These examples, for the International Maritime Organisation, are finished in oak and satin stainless steel. This large area encompassed a reception, a display and a canteen. We needed to get a wide range of materials working well together to create an homogenous effect. These included Corian, Zodiac stone, back painted glass and pigmented lacquer work.
As with all our projects, the team that manufactures the products goes on site to install them and make sure everything is perfect. For this undertaking at the Institute of Education in Bloomsbury, which is part of University College London, BGS had chosen us following previous successful collaborations. This law firm wanted to provide visitors with a dramatic statement as they arrived. What we provided certainly meets that brief. This is a brick wall with a difference. Cantilevered and finished in high gloss polyester lacquer, its undulating form creates interesting shapes that enhance the shadow gap detail at the floor and ceiling.
We also supplied client meeting tables, with leather clad flaps for data management, and credenzas. This compact dressing area may have been a small project. A bit of a hybrid, this one. The simple yet elegant design maximises seating and conceals all cabling at finance department friendly prices. Lots of fun detail here. Note the lines of the curved laminated banquettes in this place restaurant we fitted out.
The Movie Assassin – Popula
Extensive prototyping ensured the angles were ergonomically just right. And see how the solid oak floor rises to become benches. Deloitte are one of the many clients who keep coming back to us. The initial order was for a 26 seat boardroom table plus executive meeting tables and client dining tables.
All in European figured walnut. The client then asked us to instal free standing video conferencing equipment in 30 offices around the UK. IT systems can easily breed unwieldy wiring jungles. We also designed a special flap to conceal it all. These are working surfaces that need to withstand rough treatment. Aesthetically pleasing, this laminate is robust and functional.
Long, narrow boardrooms need special solutions. Picking the right veneer has an even greater impact. In this case, American black walnut book matched and slip matched for symmetry about the central point. Bearing in mind its location, the table was post lipped with moulded solid walnut, giving a tactile and durable edge detail.
This had to be carefully joined to the veneer. The central spine is sandblasted glass. Opus Magnum. The Department Store. More by bab. English magnificence magnificent magnificently magnifier magnifying magnifying glass magniloquent magnitude magnolia magnum magnum opus magpie magus mah-jong mah-jongg maharaja mahogany mahout maid maid of honor maiden Moreover, bab.
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