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Above image: Petr Krejci
Internationally acclaimed architecture doyenne, Zaha Hadid, has recently turned her creative focus to commissioning bespoke homewares to be crafted by UK-based timber artisan Gareth Neal. Hadid and Neal’s partnership was conceived as a part of The Wish List project – a joint initiative by the American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture.
Terence Conran, Benchmark’s co-founder, developed The Wish List concept by asking 10 world renowned architects and designers the simple question, “What have you always wanted in your home, but never been able to find?” The result was a series of dynamic creative collaborations, with the legendary designers cast as mentors to the emerging talent, tasked with creating objects of their desire out of a single material: American hardwood.
Hadid’s trademark fluid forms are present in the contemporary shape of the homewares, with lengthening of the silhouette along one plane creating an unexpected optical illusion. From the front, one may assume that they are looking at a regular round vessel – it is only when the objects are placed at an angle that you can appreciate the true unconventional form of the piece.
Neal’s expertise in manipulating timber made it possible to elegantly express Hadid’s signature organic aesthetic, using white oak to create the pieces for The Wish List project. His inventive approach to furniture and homeware design aims to celebrate the inherent qualities of the material at hand, combining modern digital technology with traditional woodwork practice. Neal’s unique pieces have been commissioned for private collections as well as for commercial production.
The Wish List is a feature of the London Design Festival, on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum from September 13 – 27.