About the project
Maggie’s Centres are places of refuge for people affected by cancer and their families, providing emotional and practical support. Designed by Foster & Partners, the Manchester Maggie’s Centre aims to establish a domestic atmosphere in a garden setting. With a greenhouse and a veranda, the centre accommodates a range of flexible spaces from intimate private niches, to a library, exercise rooms and larger group spaces.
Benchmark was commissioned to make bespoke wooden furniture for the kitchen, greenhouse, the mezzanine floor, offices and reception area.
For the greenhouse
A moveable table with slate top and cast iron red oxide legs. With stainless steel wheels, it slides out of the space on rails ensuring it can be used all year round for therapeutic activities such as gardening classes and workshops. The accompanying cast iron stools have a circular solid oak seat with gently sloping edges.
For the kitchen
The heart of the building is the kitchen, which is centred on a large, communal table. The 3.4m oval kitchen table provides a welcome place to gather and share a cup of tea. Made from solid oak, it has a rectilinear, organic hand drawn table top with softly curving edges. The elyptical legs are fixed with a through tenon joint that expresses the leg shape on the table top. The underside of the table is as beautiful as the top with careful selection of well-cured timber avoiding the need for a cumbersome under-rail.
The kitchen units are made from oak with bespoke turned handles. The corian island unit is given a lightness of touch with a cutback chamfered edge. Combined with integrated lighting and seamless sink the whole space, with its clean, pared back design brings a feeling of calm and serenity.
Three specially designed sideboards were also made. Continuing the cast iron/red oxide theme for the legs, the sideboards are made in oak and walnut with finger jointed detailing and circular recessed handles carved into the timber allowing the grain to run across the unit continuously. We will be developing the sideboard as an ongoing line within our furniture collection.
Elsewhere in the centre
Plywood tables and storage units, with integrated seating for the mezzanine floor and walnut desks and shelving for the computer rooms and reception.
Thoughtful detailing, choice of material and fine craftsmanship gives each of Foster + Partners’ designed furniture pieces a tactility and warmth that is a comfort visitors to the centre.
Maggie’s Centre in Manchester was one of three finalists for the 2016 Architectural Review Healthcare Award.