Proposal for Chapel Furniture Version 2 & finished pieces in location

The finished pieces were delivered and assembled in location at St. Mary High School in Prince Albert on August 20, 2008.  These are thumbnail images and can be clicked to see a larger view.  Click here to open a pdf file explaining the chapel and its furniture.

Gerald at Friendly Forest


The set shown on the left is the full set of ten pieces prior to delivery to its home at the Chapel.  The other thumbnail images are different perspectives of the pieces of furniture.  The tops of the altar and Ambo have a 17-coat layer of varnish which has had a rubbing out  finish  given to it.  It feels like a fine silk rather than  varnished wood.

The section below is  the proposal which was accepted and resulted in the pieces shown above.  I will post images of them in heir final setting when that takes place.  Gerald at Friendly Forest


Revised Proposal with scaled pieces.  The initial proposal is also shown below.




Possible perspective from upper seating area.

Alignment would have the ambo near the chapel entrance, the altar in the centre and the presider's chair in the far corner with the credence table and cross adjacent to the chair.  A matching stand for the marian statue could be made to be located in the corner behind the chair.


(All images are thumbnails and should be clicked to see larger view)

After an initial proposal, I have received some feedback from the prospective client.   As a result I have modified some aspects of the furniture.  A comment had been that the original pieces had too much focus on the base and not enough emphasis on the top of Altar and Ambo.  To adjust for this I have pulled the bases under the tops, made the bases a smaller diameter, while keeping the tops at the same diameters to keep the proportions in line, I adjusted the slab thickness to give them greater  impact.  (The chair model is from the first version but the chair too would be modified by having the seat at the same thickness as the altar and ambo tops.)

I have put the outlines of the actual chapel floor at the same scale as the furniture so the pieces can be better judged in their proposed locations.  Photos of the actual chapel are shown below.

With this set of scaled models, I have been more precise with dimensions, and the models represent pieces with 2.5 inch thick laminated top slabs of solid birch, legs at 2.25 inches square, and leg / base support panels at 1 inch thick solid birch wood.  All edges would be rounded over to give a more organic character, visually and when touched.

The entire character of the chapel is based on strong circles and circle segments within a square room space.  The black tile circle in the centre surrounded by the heavy slab arc seating are powerful visual features of the room, and everything brings focus to the centre floor area.  Therefore that is the only place that the altar can be placed.  To give proper  balance to the ambo and the presider's chair, they are lined up with the altar but are positioned within the full circle space created by the bleacher -type seating to create an essential unity to the actions being celebrated in the space.  It is important that the chair and the ambo not be located too far toward the corners.  The risk is that what happens there will be visually behind / beyond where the participants are seated.  It also needs to be remembered that  most participants will be viewing the space from above floor level because of the riser-style seating.  That alone will add emphasis to the tops of the furniture pieces.

In conceiving the pieces I have tried to incorporate the full circle and the segments of circles.  The two are  put together on both horizontal and vertical planes.  While the participants are drawn together, they also are being called to be drawn upward.  The vertical-pointing arcs of the bases and longer post-like legs are intended to draw the mind and eye upward as well as centring. 

The circular and quadrant character of the room are very consistent with the symbols of the Sacred Circle / Medicine Wheel of Native Traditions.  The altar top would have this circle and cross carved into the top.  The space below the altar slab also encloses the bottom hemisphere of the Sacred Circle which should be conceived as a three dimensional symbol, not just as a two dimensional symbol as it is most often drawn.

The ambo would have an adjustable-angle book rest which can serve as the "throne' for the Word of God book between services.

The weight of the thick top slabs and the solid wood construction throughout will make the pieces of considerable weight, but still moveable.  I would do a "rubbed out" type finish on  the altar and ambo tops.  This is a finish built up with about 16 coats of varnish, cured and then "rubbed out" to create a very durable but also wonderful tactile experience when touched.  It could also be easily repaired if damaged over time.

I invite a review  and feedback and further questions.  If the design is suitable I will provide the client with price quotes directly and not by way of this web page


G. Regnitter at Friendly Forest.


The space created by the paper base corresponds  to the approximate room floor dimensions

Just to illustrate what would NOT work in this space, I took these photos of  models of altar and ambo furniture I had created some years ago for another potential space.  The heavy  rectangular pieces just do not work with the circular space of the chapel.

View of altar position from top of third row seating

View into corner where presider's chair, credence table and cross would be located

View from third row to position where ambo would be placed

Floor level view from where ambo would be located

View from entrance area looking along axis for ambo, altar and presider's chair.

Reverse view looking from position of presider's chair across altar toward ambo and entrance to chapel.

The image to the left is of the first version pieces positioned on the same scaled base as the updated proposal shown above.  The images that follow are of the first proposal and have been modified  as shown in the images above.