Max Lamb patterns St John Chrysostom Church interiors

Max Lamb patterns St John Chrysostom Church interiors

Max Lamb redesigns 1960s church interiors

London-based designer Max Lamb has established a new altar, sanctuary flooring, and Paschal and altar candleholders for St John Chrysostom Church in Peckham, London

There is something brutal, modest and pure about St John Chrysostom Church in Peckham, states designer Max Lamb, who has made a new altar, sanctuary floor, altar candleholders and a Paschal candleholder for the modernist Anglican church in south London. ‘It’s not adorned with a great deal of decorations or carvings as you would see in other churches,’ he provides.

Completed in 1966 and replacing two before parish churches that experienced been bombed in the Second Earth War, St John Chrysostom has a slanting copper roof, a sawn softwood ceiling and a tower feature above the sanctuary that offers extraordinary indirect lights to the place beneath. ‘When you’re in the congregation seeking at the altar, you really do not see any windows and can’t see where the gentle is coming from,’ says Lamb. ‘So it generates this diagonal shaft of light which helps make for some stunning outcomes and shadows.’

Commissioned by the church on behalf of the Diocese of Southwark and developed by artwork curator and producer Aldo Rinaldi, the undertaking observed Lamb react to the stark elegance of the building’s architecture and the simplicity of its product palette by keeping his offerings in the identical sober but poetic register and sticking to equivalent resources.

He was keen for the further factors to have presence, on the other hand. ‘When I initial visited the church, the unique altar was created of brick and wood and the influence of the brick altar towards a brick wall backdrop intended it was almost invisible.’ Lamb opted alternatively for Portland stone for the altar and the candleholders, which not only contrasts well with the environment but is also a nod to the truth that 1 of the prior church buildings on the website – St Jude’s – had been created out of Portland stone. ‘One of the stone columns from the web site was retained and turned into the baptismal font,’ says Lamb. Two other tiny and unconventional things produced out of the exact limestone can be uncovered in the church: a cantilevered seat driving the altar and a wall plaque just higher than it.

The altar is composed of 4 slabs of Portland stone held together working with slot joints and a fifth slab inserted in just the four partitions. With its cross motifs in the 4 corners where by the legs meet, and its recessed foundation created so the parish priest can stand closer to the altar, the completed item appears to be like imposing but has an desirable floating high quality despite its fat.

The two candleholders are built of the exact same sedimentary stone and are cylindrical in shape, while the imposing Paschal candleholder is also cylindrical and manufactured of Portland stone but is pretty a little bit taller (1.35m) and attributes a reclaimed teak foundation for security that neatly repeats the cross motif of the altar.  

The last aspect of the church Lamb tackled was the stepped, elevated sanctuary floor that had been included in cork and was in a condition of disrepair. ‘I am typically extremely pro cork, but I determined that it was a different foreign factor in this occasion, in that it was not a materials that was present somewhere else, so my proposal was not to incorporate something new in this article but to remove the previous and polish the concrete beneath it until eventually it appeared honed.’

The new-outdated floor enhances present concrete factors in the church, this sort of as the unique coloured glass and concrete windows made by Susan Johnson and the significant concrete base for the organ pipes. The final result, increased by very powerful natural and synthetic lights (courtesy of a recent renovation), is a quietly extraordinary, uplifting and meditative area with the sculptural altar and candleholders at its heart. §