Furniture Fit for a Museum

Tate Britain

Services by Deutsche Werkstätten:
Development and manufacture of furniture

Completion 2013


The modern interpretation of traditional English furniture forms - this was the demanding challenge presented to British architects Caruso St John in 2007. It was embedded in a much larger task: the transformation of Tate Britain, the London gallery that houses the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day.

On 19 November 2013, the new Tate Britain was unveiled after a major redevelopment of the oldest part of the Grade II* listed building. Ten new exhibition spaces were restored and the whole collection was re-hung chronologically. The final part of the project saw the creation of beautiful new public spaces, including the Members Room in the circular balcony of the Rotunda’s domed atrium and the Djanogly Café on the lower level. The Rex Whistler Restaurant was also reopened with its famous Whistler mural fully restored. These spaces and others across the gallery are home to approximately 400 pieces of furniture - various tables, chairs and armchairs – all from Saxony.

For a number of years Caruso St John have been in contact with Deutsche Werkstätten. Unable to find a company in the UK that could bring their furniture designs to life in the volume and within the timeframe required, their thoughts turned to Deutsche Werkstätten. The tables, chairs and armchairs are gently stained oak, refined with a natural wood effect finish. They combine traditional craftsmanship such as steam-bending solid oak with modern finessing such as open multiplex edges. The seats and backrests of chairs and armchairs are upholstered in Scottish leather in mostly natural greens and reds, and most pieces have patinated brass feet.

In the gallery’s shop, Deutsche Werkstätten were also responsible for producing the merchandise tables, dressers and shelving, all manufactured in a short space of time.

Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Helene Binet