I had read about the refurbishment of St. Augustine’s, Hammersmith in connection with Open House and arranged to visit this afternoon. It is an Edwardian church, opened in 1903 for a large and diverse inner city Catholic congregation. The priest-in charge, Father Gianni Notarianni, who trained as a painter in Brighton before becoming a priest, wanted to change its atmosphere and commissioned Roz Barr, who had worked for Eric Parry on St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, to draw up plans for it.
They stripped the dark varnish from the ceiling to reveal the original pale wood:-
They commissioned Julian Stair to design a new and monumental altar of twelve layers of Venetian plaster:-
They got John Morgan, the typographer, to design the new lettering for the quotation from St. Augustine behind the tabernacle:-
Roz Barr herself designed the iron halo that hangs above the altar.
The result is a very successful purification of the environment for church ritual:-