Stage designer to the stars will aid £5m restoration of iconic Clapton church

Church of St John-at-Hackney Pic:Josefine Henneberg

A critically acclaimed artist who designed the closing ceremony of the London Olympics and stadium sets for Beyoncé and Adele will work on restoring the 18th century St John at Hackney Church.

Es Devlin, who has dreamed up domed catwalks for Louis Vuitton and arena spectacles for superstars including Kanye West and U2 has been brought in as part of the £5million restoration of the Grade 11 listed building in Clapton.

The church has been granted £1.84milion from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help pay for the project, which will completely renovate the 226-year-old building and its gardens.

The restoration work is expected to commence later this year, and to take 18 months.

Internationally-renowned architectural designer John Pawson, whose work includes the Design Museum, is also on board.

The pair will collaborate with RIBA Award-winning ecclesiastical and conservation specialists, Thomas Ford & Partners who recently worked on Sheffield, Wakefield, Guildford and Rochester Cathedrals.

The current church was built in 1792, replacing the earlier medieval church building that dates to 1275.

Recently, the church has opened up to new audiences, hosting gigs by Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, Robbie Williams, Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.

Pawson said: “I’m looking forward to playing my part in returning an important piece of London’s historic fabric, to make exhilarating spaces charged with atmosphere and purpose.”

Rector of the church, Al Gordon, said the restoration would not be possible without the lottery funding. “For 700 years, the church has served as a beacon of hope at the heart of Hackney. This award will not only increase accessibility to our wonderful story but will enable future generations to play their part in shaping Hackney’s bright future.”



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