St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff – Furniture Fusion

Hospitality and leisure interiors design specialist Jones AD and the UK’s leading contract furniture firm Furniture Fusion have unveiled the results of their collaboration to supply bespoke atrium furniture for the flagship St Fagans National Museum of History. BCFA member Furniture Fusion was approached by the Jones Architecture and Design to assist on the final stages of the projects, following a £30m investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government to completely transform the visitors’ experience at the Cardiff Museum.

Following a review of several potential suppliers, Furniture Fusion was awarded the contract to manufacture and supply the furniture from Jones AD’s initial concept.   

Design Insider Furniture Fusion Cardiff Museum Seating Area

“We’re absolutely delighted to see the finished product installed in our central atrium and to unveil our new look to the public. Abi and her team really understood what we wanted to achieve, and were able to translate our requirements to Furniture Fusion, giving us a combined project team that we could have real confidence in. What they delivered met all elements of the brief, on time and to budget, and we now have an interior space that works brilliantly for our diverse user groups and gives us a space that we can be really proud of.” – Bethan Lewis, Head of St Fagans National Museum of History

The newly completed Courtyard Atrium at the flagship St. Fagans National Museum of History in Wales is a striking double-height space with access to all parts of the building, which forms visitors’ first and last impressions of St. Fagans and enables them to get their bearings, plan their visit and navigate the site.

The atrium has several uses – its daily function is to serve as the museum entrance, but it was designed to perform additional roles including a theatre-style space for presentations and performances, and to host functions for up to 300 guests. To deliver each of these, the furniture selected needed to be flexible, hardwearing and easily moveable, as well as providing comfortable, attractive seating to a range of visitors from school groups to the elderly and young families.

Design Insider Furniture Fusion Cardiff Museum Seating

“It was clear that something special was required – none of the off-the-shelf pieces that we considered ticked every box, and we were determined to find something just right for the space. We realised pretty quickly that the only option was to design something bespoke.” – Abi Perry-Jones, Creative Director of Jones AD.

The result was something which fitted the brief perfectly – a bespoke modular seating system which could be moved quickly and easily for performances and to suit different visitor requirements and uses. Some pieces would have arms and backs, some would be left without; pieces could be moved and linked together to create different sculptural shapes – especially striking when viewed from the overhead bridge which links the galleries. All would be hardwearing to withstand the rigours of the museum’s youngest visitors, and ultimately would deliver something that was visually exciting and appealing to mirror the beautiful new space and enhance its character.

Design Insider Furniture Fusion Cardiff Museum Close

“We chose to partner with Furniture Fusion as we were really impressed by their ability to take our design concept and translate it into a practical, workable solution. Their experience and reputation gave us real confidence in their ability to make a fully bespoke item, provide prototypes for review and to then hone the design further to suit feedback and deliver in line with the client’s budget and time constraints.” – Abi Perry-Jones, Creative Director of Jones AD.

Colours and fabrics were selected to complement those used in the museum’s café space – another Jones AD project, the palette was chosen to echo the Welsh landscape and heritage. Furniture Fusion went back to basics and created paper mockups of the pieces, which allowed us to play around with the sizing and shapes and really bring designs to life.

Design Insider Furniture Fusion Cardiff Museum Overhead

“We were really happy to be involved in the project. Abi had a strong creative vision and some clear ideas for what was required, which helped us to deliver something that suited her design and the client’s needs. We went back to basics and created paper mockups of the pieces, which allowed us to play around with the sizing and shapes and really bring Abi’s designs to life.” – Sam Samuels, Managing Director of Furniture Fusion.

Following the initial technical drawing stage, the Furniture Fusion produced prototypes for review and testing by the public and the museum team. These were very well-received, with great feedback from all stakeholders. Some final revisions were made in line with their comments, before the design was signed off and production could proceed, ready for installation in the museum.

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About Meg Vockins

Meg is the Marketing and Membership Executive for BCFA. She enjoys writing about the different projects companies have been involved in, as well as new product ranges that are interesting and colourful! If you would like to appear in the Design Insider Live please do send over an email to meg@thebcfa.com
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