“Everything I design starts with a story – in collaboration with skilled craftspeople, I bring those stories to life for contemporary audiences.”
With these words Bethan Gray, one of the most appreciated British designers in the field of home décor and furniture, describes her approach to the project. One that, since she gave life to her London-based studio in 2008, has already earned her several awards among which 4 Elle Decoration British Design Awards. «Many of my objects – said Gray – are inspired by nature, that’s why I have a passion for natural materials. I love their imperfections, their tactile part and the limits they impose to production processes, those I want to overcome with my research». In this sense “Exploring Eden” is emblematic, a collection of furniture and precious accessories made in partnership with Nature Squared that includes small office items, coffee tables, armchairs, tables and bookcases completely covered with different types of shells, directly bought by Philippine fishermen who generally use them as emergency plates or glasses or more frequently throw them away. “Using shells, applying them for the first time to home decoration objects – explained the designer – was really exciting and gave me the chance to introduce the work of Philippine craftsmen to an international public”. The realisation of these furniture and jewel-accessories was long and complex. Starting from the selection of the shells, chosen on the basis of their shape and colour, to then move to the meticulous inlay work that took several weeks to be completed, making each object of this line unique and absolutely non-replicable.
Above: Shelves, Desk, Coffee-Table from the “Exploring Eden” Collection. Design: Bethan Gray