75 years of
Kirwin & Simpson have a well-established client base built from the 75+ years we have been in business. We have worked on projects across the UK and in the countries pictured.
All of our products are made and assembled in the UK then shipped out worldwide. This ensures our exceptionally high levels of quality are met regardless of where the project is.
Keep scrolling to take a peek at some of our favourite projects!
Kirwin & Simpson designed, manufactured, and fitted the auditorium with 630 brand new seats specially designed with audience comfort in mind.
The seats are completely bespoke and are a range of demountable and removable units. They boast custom fabric made with two types of patterns to get as close to the original 1930’s Art Deco design as possible. To make the seats more modern and comfortable for patrons, we’ve included ProBax® Advanced Comfort Foam Technology and built-in menu and programme holders on the back, also custom end panels with bronze waymarking compliments the theatre’s new colour palette.
In addition, Kirwin & Simpson specially designed a transfer arm for accessible seats. This was designed for patron ease of movement from wheelchair into designated seat. We also supplied Box Chairs based on our stacking Portobello Chair in the same custom fabric.
Kirwin & Simpson supplied the new, modern-look seating with an ambitious target of adding 150 additional seats.
Despite the re-instatement of the revolving stage, we were able to increase the theatre’s capacity from 1,024 to 1,299 via a re-raked and extended auditorium balcony and additional room gained by narrow-envelope chairs. That’s 275 more theatre-lovers able to experience the brilliance of LW’s Cinderella.
Working to a tight budget, we re-used 95% of the original metalwork but redesigned the seat backs to tighten the seat envelope by 20mm. The compact envelope allowed seat ways of a very generous 500mm, this in turn allowed for long rows of up to 42 chairs. The Circle saw the biggest change with laser cut standard and two heights of tall backs to ensure all regulations were met.
The use of ProBax Comfort Foams improved comfort despite the change, and three back styles (short, tall and extra tall) were used across the auditorium. Other key elements of the design include a removable floor fixing system and LED lights wired into the upholstered end panels. all new polished woodwork with recessed numbers in the back falls in superbly with the new purple colour scheme.
Kirwin & Simpson have been looking after most of London’s West End Theatres for many years and in that time we have developed a good knowledge of the specialist skills and techniques required.
Proper repair and replacement of seating and accessories in sensitive environments such as London’s Edwardian theatres requires the ability to source traditional materials, adapt and update existing installations to meet modern health & safety requirements and the skills to replicate original castings and frameworks. The ability to design new components in keeping with the interior style is also essential.
Kirwin & Simpson are delighted to be chosen to provide the seating when the Apollo Theatre. In 2014, we completed installation in 9 weeks, supplying and fitting 646 new chairs.
At the Newbridge Memorial Hall we installed new seating with a retro styling to suit the period of the building. Newbridge Memorial Hall made it through to the final of BBC2’s Restoration and despite not winning, was granted funding.
The totally refurbished building was open by HRH Prince Charles in December 2014.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of London’s oldest theatres; the first theatre was built in 1663. The current building was built in 1812 and is the fourth on the site. In 2008 Kirwin & Simpson replaced over 1200 chairs in the Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Balcony. We also carry out regular maintenance to keep the chairs in the best possible condition.
As of 2021 we are working with Theatre Royal Drury Lane on their grand renovation project.
In 2019, the Marriner Group carried out a full refurbishment of the whole theatre. A section was built on to the front of the Circle to move the audience closer to the stage and improve Sightlines. Kirwin & Simpson designed, built, and installed 1,831 new luxury chairs.
The custom chairs feature many bespoke aspects including custom framed backs with interchangeable upholstered panels featuring sew lines and the seat base has a hardwood surround with an upholstered centre panel.
The seat number is mounted on an individual hardwood piece that is angled for better viewing without becoming a snag point. Each leg features a hardwood insert with an upholstered inside panel making this chair is one of the highest specification chairs on the market. The arm pad has a custom hardwood surround with upholstered inner panel, again for maximum comfort and durability.
The Regent Theatre Chair is one of Kirwin & Simpson’s flagship projects and the epitome of what the Company stands for. Taking the history of the venue and the exacting wishes of the owners into account to produce a completely bespoke product with the highest levels of quality available.
In August 2014 we installed brand new auditorium seating at the Stockport Plaza. The brief was to replicate the original seating installed when the Plaza first opened back in 1932, however, this had to be done mostly using black and white photographs.
The Plaza is very proud of the refurbishment and we are very happy to have played such a key role in restoring the Art Deco Cinema and Theatre back to its former glory.
We refurbished over 1000 chairs in the Stalls throughout the summer of 2013. Currently, we have a maintenance contract to keep the auditorium chairs looking their best.
We also attend to remove seating, as necessary for large events booked at the Frank Matcham designed theatre. For the Royal Variety Performance we attend to remove chairs so cameras can be set up to record the show, and broadcast it to the nation. We have also done similar works to the auditorium for Britain’s Got Talent, the Evening Standard Awards and Sunday night at the Palladium.
The Cutty Sark is the world’s sole surviving tea clipper. Following the outbreak of fire in 2007, the clipper underwent massive refurbishment works and reopened to the public in April 2012. As part of the refurbishment, a new studio theatre was created, to include brand new, removable seating.
In the Michael Edwards Studio Theatre we installed 130 new chairs, as pictured below. Each chair is completely removable, thus making the studio space versatile and adaptable.
Kirwin & Simpson were approached to design and build a high quality and highly flexible bench unit. The units were mainly in 2-seater with some 1-seat units.
The benches had to fix to either the rear face of the riser or the front face of the riser. We had to design multiple custom linking brackets that allowed the benches to be universal, with only the linking brackets specific to the fixing location.
The client wanted us to use a combination of contrasting fabric and leather capping. The result was a vibrant design which also offers the highest levels of durability.
A major part of the brief was to provide a room that could quickly transform from ‘assembly mode’ into ‘theatre mode’, with easily removable and multi-location seating. This allows the school to gain extra rows of seating in minutes, and then for theatre mode have the depth of stage they require for their full-scale musicals and orchestral events. In total there are 7 different configurations.
The auditorium is a rich, dark timber-lined space to contrast with foyer providing a warm intimate room for dance, theatre, assembly, music, and speech, wrapping the audience around the performers or allowing more conventional configurations when required.
The seats are upholstered in wool with natural colours that allude to the landscape outside and a contracting leather cap to both seat-back and base. Lightweight at 17.8kg per seat the overall effect is a kaleidoscope of colours that are interchangeable and intimate.
We have recently designed a new performance seating with a removable shell chair for the choir stalls at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. These chairs are fixed to the edge of the step providing a comfortable and defined seating position, that can be easily removed and stacked away, and leaves a flush floor finish.
Theatre consultants, Charcoalblue, and Kirwin & Simpson worked with the main contractors to design a family of chairs that could accommodate capacity expansion of the new multi-purpose performance space.
We designed 22 variations of custom Carnaby Range seating complete with two shades of bespoke fabric (designed to reflect the slate and oak heritage of the Cornish region). Our Tipping Portobello Chair was created specially for Hall for Cornwall to be movable and consistent in design with the rest of the Playhouse.
In total, Kirwin & Simpson added 350 additional seating positions to bring the Cornwall Playhouse capacity up to over 1,300.
We were approached by Charcoalblue Theatre Consultants to design a stacking chair that was free-standing but had the same levels of comfort as one of our standard fixed chairs. The client had previously visited The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and fell in love with the chairs we had made there.
With this brief we created a hybrid theatre/stacking chair which has turned out to be a very comfortable, versatile and unique chair. Originally specified with an arm, we produced a prototype that had a unique folding arm, so allowing it to stack. However due to spacial considerations, the client decided to go without arms and the chair has gone into production, ready to ship out this summer.
The Shakespeare Theater can transform; nine seating towers can be moved around. The chair used is an adaptation of our Carnaby Range with special fixing systems.
With the high level of interchangeability of the seating structure it was a major challenge to ensure every seat was correctly adjusted for height, back angle and sight lines and all upholstery components were interchangeable. The end result is receiving rave reviews.
The new Everyman, included a 400-chair theatre with the ability to fully support their diverse programme.
The brief was to retain the look, style and character of the original auditorium seating, but bring it up to modern standards of comfort and build in the flexibility and versatility required to meet a wide range of new and exacting requirements.
The chairs conform to a uniform size and footprint, making them fully interchangeable. Even the specially designed high chairs in the back row can be easily moved and re-fixed using a special floor fixing system designed and manufactured by Kirwin & Simpson. The seats were upholstered with the fabric ‘upside down’ to create a more ‘lived in’ look.
Empire Cinemas are the largest independently owned cinema chain in the UK. 2015 will see Empire Cinemas introduce IMAX® Screens into their Basildon, Essex; Great Park, Birmingham and Hemel Hempstead cinemas. This was following the success of the introduction of an IMAX® Screen in their flagship cinema Empire Leicester Square in May 2014.
Kirwin & Simpson are extremely proud to be involved with the ongoing developments at Empire Cinemas. We have been servicing and refurbishing their cinemas nationwide for over 10 years now.
For the new IMAX® Screen at Basildon we have refurbished their existing seating to include the embroidered seat numbers.
The owners of the Savoy Cinema in Stockport were so impressed with the seating we designed for them at their Regal Cinema in Melton Mowbray, we were delighted to be chosen to manufacture the new seating for the Savoy.
The Savoy reopened in October 2015 after a complete refurbishment by the Mundin family, much to the delight of the locals. We designed, manufactured and installed two styles of Pullman Cinema seating for the new cinema, standard and premium.
All the chairs have bespoke cupholders with a specially designed drinks guard that features the cinema’s logo.
In the Screening Room at the MPC’s London Office, we refurbished their exiting seating with the highest levels of luxury in mind. With the added benefit of ProBax® foam technology, we created one of the most comfortable screening rooms in the city. More information about ProBax® can be found on our ProBax® page.
For the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford we designed and created 108 brand new cinema chairs in an Art Deco Style for their auditorium.
The design brief was to come up with a concept which took on the characteristics of the Art Deco building without compromising on comfort.
In order to make the chairs unique to the building the cupholders were customised to incorporate the Ultimate Picture Palace’s logo.
Kirwin & Simpson are the preferred seating contractor for Cineworld Cinemas, one of Europe’s leading cinema groups. Cineworld is the second largest cinema business in Europe (by number of screens) with over 200 sites.
Over the last four years we have re-upholstered over 40,000 cinema chairs, either on site or in our workshops.
Pictured: Cineworld Cinema in Broad Street, Birmingham, where we re-upholstered 3316 chairs on site in just 3 weeks.
This custom seating system was originally designed for the American School in London along with architects Foster-Wilson. The brief was to design a fixed bench unit which had apparent divisions suitable for adult use but continuous seats so that more children could be accommodated.
Build quality had to be high and robust so polished hardwood cappings were placed on the ends and top rails of the backs. The design has further evolved to incorporate higher backs, removable and tipping units, as fitted at Tormead and St Catherine’s schools.
Kirwin and Simpson are proud to say that we hold for the maintenance contract for the upkeep of the seating at the London School of Economics.
During the 2014/2015 Christmas and New Year break we removed, upholstered and refitted 223 chairs in the Hong Kong Theatre, in time for the new term to begin. We are contracted to attend four times a year to service the School’s seven theatres.
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