English oak; oak bark-tanned leather; copper detailing
- Width: 83.5cm / 32.87 inches
- Depth: 52cm / 20.47 inches
- Height: 81.5cm / 32.09 inches
Tasked with designing a chair to launch Nàdurra, a connoisseur whiskey by The Glenlivet, it seemed critical to us to ensure the chair took inspiration from the whiskey with its materials but not necessarily in its form. We were keen to create a design that when viewed had the ability to take your imagination to a place of relaxation beside a Salmon filled river in the highlands of Scotland. The Dram chair’s narrative is that of a luxury camping chair with hand-crafted slung oak tanned leather and English oak capturing the spirit of the brand, whisky crafted in small batches using traditional techniques.
The Chelsea Barrack Garden Benches
Commissioned by Jo Thompson, one of the UK’s leading garden designers, this site-specific commission was to design the outdoor seating for The Chelsea Barracks Garden during the famous Chelsea Flower Show. We worked closely and collaboratively with her team to design an appropriate solution to suit the planting and fluid lines within Jo’s landscape. With both budget and time constraints, we worked with multiple contractors to design and fabricate the organic shaped benches measuring between 3 and 5 meters. The massive benches were delicately installed within the landscape and together followed the fluid curves of the flower beds and rill.
The garden was awarded a Gold Medal and we could not be more pleased to have worked with such a talented designer and team.
When David Paphitis, the founder of Aesop was looking to open the third store in Shoreditch, they were keen to work with local artisans and designers who shared an ethos which complimented the brand and could assist with the brand’s awareness within the east end. We designed the overall look of the store with rough cut lumber shelving and used our CNC cut and groove technique to create the point of sale in what was an unassuming building on Red Church Street.
The East London area was once home to hundreds of traditional furniture manufacturers. The objects within this collection refer to this lost industry by using traditional ornamental veneers from the last companies in the UK who still manufacture them in a traditional manner. To honour these lost trades, we claimed back derelict pieces of land, exhibited our contemporary picnic and invited the public for relaxation, fun and play.
‘The Vauxhall Collective’ is an annual bursary scheme and one we were lucky enough to win with an idea centred around ‘The Great British Weekend.’ We set about designing a body of playful objects for a series of ‘Urban Picnics’ which popped up in East London. City tarmac and concrete pavement were temporarily transformed into grassy spaces inviting Londoners to meet, mingle and consume their picnic under the summer sun. Picnickers entered an interactive and fantastical space featuring traditional weekend fares with a contemporary craft twist. From bat and ball, to logs and benches to sit on, the creations intended to bring jaded city dwellers back to their childhood memories of the quintessential British weekend.
This project was featured in Power of the Making at The Victoria & Albert Museum and pieces have been acquired by the Crafts Council of Great Britain.
The Ease Chair
Heal’s, the renowned British furniture store have been successfully hosting a Bodging Project that brings together makers and designers for almost a decade. In 2014, Gareth Neal and five furniture designers (Chris Eckersley, William Warren, Sarah Kay, Carl Clerkin and Koji Katsuragi) joined forces in the Tottenham Court Road shop window of Heal’s for a week of creative exploration. In a race against time, and each other, using a range of offcuts from Ercol and Sitting Firm, we set about crafting beautiful objects. Press and customers were invited to vote for their favourite design and we are pleased to have won! Out of this collaborative workshop environment came the beautifully crafted Ease Chair, who’s simple lines and stylish slung leather back are a great addition to the contemporary furniture world.
The Ease Chair, handcrafted in Italy, features a leather hide seat which is finished with a process known as vegetable tanning – a tradition of Tuscan tanneries.
London’s renowned bespoke framers John Jones commissioned us to create a reception desk for their newly constructed arts building. By engaging with and subverting their manufacturing process, we created a design that showed the craftsmanship and skill behind their process. Based in the heart of Finsbury Park, this new creative community space houses its framing and conservation workshops, as well as a cafe, exhibition space and artist studios.
Oak, with oak-bark tanned leather cured in Britain’s last remaining oak-bark tannery
Width: 60cm / 23.62 inches
Depth: 57cm / 22.44 inches
Height: 74cm / 29.13 inches
This leatherback chair was designed in collaboration with Bill Amberg Studios. The single piece of shoe sole leather suspended between the arms of the chair is from the last tannery in the UK still using natural dies. The rich colour of the back of this chair is coloured using the tannins of Oak bark and was originally designed to accompany a bespoke dining table for an exhibition at Chatsworth House.
An extension of the George III Chest acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum, this is the largest and most ambitious piece within the Cut & Groove Series. Our George Bureau is a contemporary interpretation of the classic George III Bureau. An ode to traditional english furniture, it stands imposingly at 2.3 meters and is comprised of 4 drawers. The process of Cut & Groove involves a rugged hand-carved technique juxtaposing precise computer controlled routing machines. The result is an original and beautiful statement piece of furniture at the forefront of contemporary design.
The Wish List
American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture initiated The Wish List, an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum during London Design Festival. It brought together a stellar list of architects and designers for a unique collaborative project. We were excited to be paired with Zaha Hadid, who’s brief was simple and open: to create tableware made from wood. We approached the project by thinking about the fluid dynamic of Zaha Hadid’s designs. These original forms were inspired by traditional water carafes and the language of her work. We were keen to engage with Hadid’s advanced computer modelling software, pushing the boundaries of digital craftsmanship further. As the design progressed, we became interested in the idiosyncrasies of traditional hand processes such as hand thrown pottery, raised silverware, or fluted carving, and how these could be simulated through digital fabrication. Using the traditional vessel form as a starting point and subverting its appearance to dramatic extremes, the design embodies a sense of the handmade through the arm of a robot, questioning the viewer’s perception of craft and the handmade.
VES-EL was the winner of The Wood Awards Bespoke Category in 2015.