Constantia’s parliament link

THE daughters of local craftsman Bernhard Koker, who made the central table for New Parliament House, visited there recently for a memorial for chief architect Romaldo Giurgola.

Mr Koker, who established Constantia Designer Craftsmen in Port Lincoln in 1977, was commissioned to design and build the central table and hansard desk for the New Parliament House in Canberra, which was presented in 1988.

Summer Koker has run the family business for the past 10 years and in August she and her sister represented their father and Constantia at a gathering for Mr Giurgola, who died earlier this year.

Ms Koker said close colleagues and family came from all over the world to pay tribute to the remarkable designer.

The central table and hansard desk were constructed in Australian grey box, known for extremely hard working characteristics and provided an enormous challenge.

Ms Koker said the enormity of the project was summarised by Pamille Berg, AO, former art and craft program co-ordinator for the Parliament House architects.

“The complexity and challenge of this remarkable furniture commission arose in part from the table’s vast size (4.5m long by 2.73m wide) and its accommodation through bronze grilles in its base of return air conditioning ducts for the central chamber space.”

The number of items that had to be included in the table added to the complexity.

“The central table and hansard desk stand in the House Chamber are superlative works of craftsmanship, in all respects made to last for the life of the chamber,” Ms Berg said.