Last week we had the chance to attend a dedication ceremony at the University of New England’s College of Pharmacy for their two recently donated pharmacy collections. Betty & Andrew Golub commissioned Huston & Company to design and build a custom maple display case for the collection that Betty curated during the 22 years she ran our town’s beloved pharmacy, the Kennebunk Village Pharmacy.
After a series of collaborative conversations with UNE and their Special Collections Librarian, Cally Gurley, we had a solid base from which to begin the design. As with all projects, the first step is determining the functional needs and how the furniture will be used. In this case, the process also included a visit to the site to see the surrounding space and architectural details that would connect the case to its surroundings. Given that clean, contemporary lines and existing maple woodwork were the primary visual elements in the space, the design of the display case followed suit.
The glass was chosen specifically for its 99% UV protection rating in order to preserve the condition of the antique objects, while the cabinet is lit with LED display lights to highlight the unique pharmaceutical tools and artifacts. A simple detail, added at the request of the university administration, was aluminum feet on the display case legs to avoid any potential water damage from the frequent cleaning needed to maintain this heavily used space.
Bill was invited to speak about the design and build process of custom academic furniture pieces such as this. The team at Huston & Company is feeling inspired by this particular display piece and hope to have the chance build future iterations, given the design’s versatility and its potential to house a variety of special collections from other academic institutions.
Our client had this to say about her decade-long experience in working with Huston & Company on behalf of UNE:
“Over the last 10 years, I have worked closely with Huston & Company as they’ve designed and built an array of beautiful custom pieces for both of our campus libraries, including display cases, library work tables, custom cabinetry, circulation desks, and study desks. It seems that, no matter what we need, Huston builds it perfectly for its intended purpose and delivers it on schedule with no cost overruns. Ultimately, the design process results in pieces of elegant style and beauty which reflect really well on the university.
When we compare what is available in library furniture catalogs to that of Huston’s, Huston always wins!”
– Cally Gurley, Special Collections Librarian at the University of New England