World class contemporary craft at COLLECT 2015

COLLECT, the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, presented by the Crafts Council opens tomorrow at the Saatchi Gallery.  It’s a chance to buy world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft from 35 international galleries each representing established and emerging artists.

Sarah Myerscough Gallery, with a strong interest in art and design showcasing principally British artists, present a series of vessels designed by architect Zaha Hadid and furniture designer maker Gareth Neal, made in our workshops.

The vessels first came about as part of The Wish List, our project in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council, exhibited at the V&A Museum during London Design Festival last year.  Ten leading designers were asked to come up with their wish, the object that they had always wanted but never found or had time to design themselves. They paired up with younger designers and together they worked on realising the design. This culminated in the young designers spending a week at Benchmark , working with our craftsmen to bring their designs to life.

Zaha Hadid’s wish was very open-ended, simply specifying ‘tableware’. Designer Gareth Neal chose to play with the form of a carafe or water carrier and turn it into something beautiful.  He approached the project by thinking about the fluid dynamic of Zaha Hadid’s designs. The water carafe idea emerged from considering the liquid nature of her work but juxtaposing that with a functional element. He was invited to go to Hadid’s office and work with her design team, using the company’s modelling software to create the vessels. From this came the idea of extruding the form along one of its axes with a slit opening at the end that allowed the viewer to look into what Neal described as ‘a cathedral-like space’.

The making of the vessels was challenging. We had to upgrade the software for our CNC machine to cope and it required complex and time consuming programming by our craftsmen.  Here, the machine becomes the hands of the craftsmen, just digitally programmed. Despite being a machine, it still has its quirks and many hours were spent by Gareth watching and checking.   The vessels were made in two halves which were expected to be identical but in fact were not quite, giving a sense of the ‘maker’s mark’.  Each piece was then hand-finished.

The vessels are made from American white oak and as with all the Wish List projects, underwent full Life Cycle Assessment to calculate their cradle to grave environmental impact.

COLLECT runs from 8-11 May: Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY

Friday 8 May: 12 – 6 pm
Saturday 9 May: 11am – 6pm
Sunday 10 May: 11am – 6pm
Monday 11 May: 11am – 4pm


Posted on: 7th May, 2015 By: Benchmark Category: Craftsmanship| Events & Exhibitions| The Wish List

Image Credit Petr Krejci