The Two of Us

October 2019 marks 15 years of our business partnership as FrancisKnight. It has been, and continues to be, an interesting journey. To celebrate, we decided to take a photographic trip down memory lane, taking in places and projects along the way…

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Our first ever project! FrancisKnight were appointed by ArtOffice and Medway Council to work with international artist John Newling on the public art project Chatham Vines in St John’s Church, Chatham which went on to win the Rouse Kent Public Art Award for 2006. 

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2008, FrancisKnight were commissioned by Maidstone Borough Council to deliver Art at the Centre, an Arts Council England, South East pioneering awards scheme.

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In 2009, FrancisKnight were appointed Project Managers for Leysdown Rose-tinted, working alongside Swale Borough Council to lead and deliver an arts in regeneration scheme on the eastern tip of the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. The project subsequently received a Certificate of Commendation from the Royal Society of Public Health, Health and Art Awards 2010.

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Working with artist Nicole Mollett and Cathy Bird on a community workshop for Leysdown Rose-tinted.

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2012:  Pop-up arts space project with Making Art Work, Union Street, Maidstone. 

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November 2014, public art commission for Gravesham Borough Council: artist Douglas Jennings (ARBS) bronze statue of Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji reflecting his days of service in the RAF. The Pujji Memorial received The Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture 2015.

 

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2015, IN-SITE public art project, studio visit to see artist Nicola Flower. The project subsequently received the Culture, Design and Tourism Award 2015 for Visual Arts.

                                           And now...

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Find out more about the secrets of our successful business partnership in our Linkedin article 

 

  

 

  

 

Public art signage project celebrates Yorkshire Dales

Last month, 16 stunning boundary signs commissioned by FrancisKnight on behalf of Craven District Council for Great Place: Lakes & Dales were sensitively installed in the beautiful landscape - in place for the 2019 Cycling World Road Championships on 22nd September. Created by Yorkshire photographic artist Mary Woolf and produced by Morelock Signs in Wolverhampton, the signs, on key roads, were part of a project with Craven District Council and Great Place: Lakes & Dales to mark the Craven district boundary and celebrate the distinctiveness of the breathtaking landscape. In exploring the district, Mary became interested in the ridges and skylines, creating a panoramic view that is split into four along the N/E/S/W lines, from which she produced 4 signage designs that depict the outstanding natural beauty of the areas highlighting Bentham, Buckden, Skipton and Wigglesworth all with their own distinct key features. 

 

Image: Mary Woolf

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FrancisKnight has moved!

FrancisKnight has moved! We are still at the Business Terrace, Maidstone but in a different office and delighted to be sharing a workspace with young entrepreneur Ben Towers and Roger Williams, Founder and Managing Director of Intelligent Linking. Our new light, white environment is perfect for working creatively - and making plans to celebrate our 15th anniversary in October. More to follow.....

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THE BEAUTY OF BENCHES: INTERVIEW WITH FURNITURE DESIGNER MAKER ANDREW LAPTHORN

Appointed by Medway Council to work on the £4 million government funded Chatham Placemaking Project to help regenerate the route from Chatham Station to the Waterfront, we commissioned furniture designer maker Andrew Lapthorn to produce a series of benches to create a strong sense of place. The benches were the outcome of a collaboration with the project’s Lead Artist, Chris Tipping, whose base designs and concept of using granite and wood informed Andrew’s detailed designs for the timber elements of six beautifully crafted benches.  A Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen, Andrew Lapthorn, who creates unique designs, predominantly working in wood, from his workshop in the grounds of the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, completed his studies in Furniture, Fine Craftsmanship and Design in 1981 at Rycotewood College, Thame, having spent his early career at sea and working as a shipwright. He runs his own business making bespoke furniture, as well as lecturing part time at the Furniture Craft School, Scotney Castle Estate. 

We spoke to Andrew about his creative process. 

FK: What is special about working with wood that draws you as a designer?  

AL: The multitude of textures, finishes and forms achievable through a wide range of disciplines and techniques using the same basic toolkit. Albeit architectural structures in oak or feathery inlays using fruitwoods, box or holly, once you have an understanding of the material it presents boundless opportunities.  

FK: What role does research play in your work, and was this important in the Chatham Placemaking commission?  

AL: Certainly, research is most important. It takes you to unexpected places and ultimately, therein lies the design. It defines the pathway of the design process while instinct and intuition is your guide as that pathway divides and subdivides. For me it not only informs the work and gives it meaning, but just as importantly, it is an education.  

FK: Does the space within which the design is situated influence the form? 

I would suggest it is the opposite. Though each bench is a condensation of a wider space, a memoir if you like, it is the form that influences the space around it. While the sphere of influence is ordinarily within range of the senses it is the intangible presence, the spirit of the piece, which permeates its surroundings, influencing them in incalculable ways. 

FK: Thanks, Andrew, for sharing your insight. It has been a joy to work with all the artists on this amazing placemaking project. Collaboration and teamwork is what makes the role of a Public Art Consultant so exciting and satisfying. 

For more information about the Chatham Placemaking project, including fascinating films, go to http://www.francisknight.co.uk/public-realm/chatham-placemaking-masterplan 

Artist links:

https://www.lapthornfurniture.co.uk

http://www.christophertipping.co.uk 

Photographs by Andrew Lapthorn and Richard Gooding 

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