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Resene Total Colour Heritage Award Winner

The Studio had the great privilege of winning the prestigious 2019 Resene Total Colour Heritage Award for the work recently completed at the Catholic Church of the Holy Passion Amberley.

The judges said “This project is clearly dear to the hearts of many. The colour palette has been ever so carefully researched and delightfully celebrates the building’s history. In sympathy with the tradition of ecclesiastical ornamentation, the bold colour palette is immediately inviting and uplifting not austere as you might expect. The colour focus captures your attention and holds it; a passionate use of colour.”

Here is an explanation of the project.

The Studio of Saint Philomena was approached back in 2016, to assist with the restoration of the Church of the Holy Passion, Amberley.

The church was coming up to its 150th anniversary and the parish had decided that it was the perfect time to restore it to its former glory.

The building had been first commissioned by Sir Frederick Weld, the 6th Prime Minister of New Zealand. The church was originally built in England and then sent out to New Zealand as a flat pack.

It had originally stood in Brackenbridge North Canterbury for many years but was later relocated to the township of Amberley in the early 1950s with the assistance of two traction engines!

After accepting the commission, advice was obtained from an English historic building specialist and our professional colour consultant Jo Gainsford on how best to proceed with the project.They came up with a number of reference images, drawings and initial colour boards ideally suited for the church.

The Resene color range was chosen enabling us to match closely the original colours and tones, that were in keeping with the building of that era.

The project was done in several stages.

  • Firstly we cast, painted and installed the crucifix in the centre of the church.

  • Then the interior of the church was repainted.

  • During this time the three original statues in the church were repainted in their traditional colours.

  • Finally, stage four came about in the early part of 2019. This involved the mammoth task of gilding the interior facade, the arch and the architectural detailing. This process used over 1000 sheets of 23.5k Florentine gold which was imported directly from Italy for this project.

The project was completed in March 2019 just prior to Easter.

Because of the historic nature and age of the church, this is an absolute must see when passing through the North Canterbury town of Amberley.



Damien's Reflections

I am so privileged to work with a team of incredibly talented people. Over the past 8 years we have been directly involved with saving artworks and working on buildings in Canterbury, after the Christchurch earthquake. I want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank them for being so incredibly supportive in assisting with the creative vision of the Studio. Together we bring years of expertise in working on and seeing through to completion some of our most ambitious projects.

It is my great privilege to introduce the award-winning team of the Studio of Saint Philomena - winners of Resene’s Total Colour Award for Heritage 2019.

Group photo (from front left):

  • Rosanna Staub - interior designer and planner.

  • Noel Walker - business accounts manager.

  • Center Damien Walker - founder and director of the Studio of Saint Philomena.

  • Kathy Light - business and financial advisor.

  • Jo Gainsford - award winning colour consultant.


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