Chelmsford Cathedral

Chelmsford CathedralFor today’s blog entry we are taking a short trip back in time and space, to the county of Essex, England and to last year, where we completed a Chapel project in Chelmsford Cathedral. It’s a longer entry than usual, but we hope you enjoy it non-the-less.

Daedalian were contacted in the Autumn of 2008 by local architect Gerald Barrett who, working with the Dean of Chelmsford Cathedral , The Very Reverend Peter Judd, sought Daedalian for their reputation for innovative and contemporary glass design and a long association with religious art of all denominations. The brief was to produce a glass screen to help create one of the Cathedral Chapels into a more secluded area for private prayer, while still maintaining a sense of openness.

St Cedd’s Chapel is where Morning Prayer is said and the Eucharist is celebrated each day. Throughout the day the Chapel is open for private prayer and is unexpectedly placed at the back of the Cathedral.  Because of its position it enables people to slip in and out anonymously and is the reason the Chapel is so often used and the candle stand, where people light their candles with their prayers, never goes out.

Dean Judd had always liked the chapel, but felt it could use some improvement. “The Chapel is brilliantly accessible, but has always felt a bit exposed. We thought carefully about how we could make the Chapel feel more enclosed, without making it feel exclusive”

After a period of consultation, wherein Daedalian produced a variety samples to create the desired effect, the popular Chiffon Organic laminated glass design was settled on, the benefit of which was three fold: To achieve a subtle, but definite sense of privacy, decrease sound intrusion from the rest of the Cathedral and to form a sympathetic visual confluence with the existing Guiseppe Lund sculpted bronze railings. Along with fulfilling the the primary criteria, it was also hoped that Daedalian could achieve the project brief with a minimum of mechanical fixings, as the dean and architect had seen done by Daedalian previously, at Great Missenden Church.

To do this, each panel was bolted to the ground, below floor level, with stainless steel clamps; perpendicular fins were bonded to body of the screens, as opposed to using mechanical fixings, to hold the panels together. Daedalian worked closely with DP Squared Structural Engineering to make absolutely certain that the system they devised would give the necessary rigidity and structural stability, while keeping a light and open feel for the overall scheme. To finish, each door was fitted with 350mm long lead crystal pull handles, again helping to keep the amount of metal fixtures and fittings to a minimum.

The project was completed in late 2010 and more than fitted the bill for the congregation of Chelmsford Cathedral, as Dean Judd points out; “The new glass screens with their lines of folded cloth, which mirror the bronze bars, do just what we hoped. They enclose the Chapel and make it feel secure and special, without compromising the sense of openness and accessibility. This is a scheme that has worked out brilliantly. What we set out to do has been achieved and more; a special chapel has been made more so and its ‘presence’ has been enhanced by the beautiful and fitting work done by Daedalian Glass Design.”



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