Edwin Luytens (1869 – 1944) British Architect and Designer

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Edwin Lutyens featured image
Edwin Lutyens featured image

Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869–1944), an English architect and designer, was noted for adapting traditional architectural styles to the needs of his time.

Biography

In 1887, he joined the firm George and Peto, where he met Herbert Baker, later becoming a colleague in New Delhi. Richard Norman Shaw and Philip Webb influenced him.

In Country Life magazine, Edward Hudson promoted the youthful Lutyens. Lutyens designed most of the modest furnishings for his first married house. His first creations were for outdoor furniture. He later returned to these furniture themes several times. A four-poster bed and dressing table and a wood refectory table with hefty pillar supports were among the historicist elements for the residence.

In 1889, he secured his first commission and established his architectural firm. The Arts and Crafts movement, Queen Anne style, English Regency, Mughal, and neoclassicism were all incorporated into his approach. Incorporating crisp white painted woodwork and ceilings, glossy black walls, red fretwork, and lacquered furniture, Lutyens’ 1906—12 Folly Farm in Sulhampstead, Berkshire, broke new ground in architecture and interior design.

A wooden garden settee with the characteristics of padded upholstery, still in production and extensively created and published, was one of his many furniture designs. He designed 21 seats for Country Life’s boardroom in 1905. By the end of World War I, his furniture had become more daring, and his decorating ideas had become more uncompromising.

Lutyens’ odd taste was reflected in his London home on Mansfield Street, which included chairs modelled after Napoleon’s meridiennes, with one arm lower than the other to accommodate a draped leg. He designed the Cenotaph in London in 1919—20, the Thiepval Arch war memorial on the Somme in 1926, various English country residences, and a massive complex of government buildings in New Delhi including the Viceroy’s House, between 1912 and 1931.

Architectural Interiors

His most well-known designs for massively scaled lighting, tables, and chairs were from the New Delhi complex. He had more creative freedom in the viceroy’s residence and minor offices, such as the nursery, which featured light-hearted chandeliers with animal cut-outs and an amorphous clock. The hands of another clock expanded as they rounded the oval dial. Reworkings of some New Delhi designs were used in the 1928-31 offices of the sanitary fittings firm Crane Bennet on Pall Mall in London. The furniture for the Reuters and Press Association building in London, which opened in 1934—35, was based on designs from his Bloomsbury home nearly 40 years before. Based on the 1938 Bressey-Lutyens Report, he devised the ‘RA Plan for London’ in 1942. From 1938, he served as president of the Royal Academy; he is interred in Westminster Abbey, London.

Architecture

Architecture included numerous Arts and Crafts-style country houses in England, including Deanery Garden in Sonning; the neo-Baroque houses 1906 Heathcote in Ilkley and 1905—08 Nash- dom in Taplow; English Free Style work at Hampstead Garden Suburb in London; and neo-Georgian houses. He designed commercial and government structures after World War I, notably Britannic House (1924–39), the Midland Bank headquarters, and townhouses in London. Lutyens’ largest contract in the 1930s was the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool, which was designed in the style of Christopher Wren and dubbed “Wrenaissance” by the architect. The church intended to be the world’s second largest Christian church, and Lutyens expected it to take 100 years to complete. The foundation stone was laid in 1933; most of the crypt construction was finished by 1939; work was abandoned in 1941 due to costs incurred following World War II. The Champion Hall in Oxford from 1933 to 1936, and Middleton Park in Oxford from 1937 to 1938, were two further commissions (with Robert Lutyens).

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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