BETHAN LAURA WOOD

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It’s an understatement to say Bethan Laura Wood likes colour. Looking every inch a modern-day Frida Kahlo, the bright young British designer is wowing the global creative scene – and that’s not just down to her eye-popping clothes. Her work, from furniture and glass to ceramics, lighting, textiles and fashion, is bold, vibrant and wonderfully expressive. This week sees Wood curating Broadgate's Makers Mini Market, where East London designers will showcase cross-disciplinary wares. Expect the unexpected...

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

Tell us about this week's pop-up Makers Mini Market in London.
I was invited to curate the Makers Mini Market and wanted to see how it could be interesting or different from just another type of makers market. I really liked the idea of bringing together a mix of creative people from East London whose work I follow on Instagram and that crosses over different disciplines. 

What can we expect?
There’s dyed marble from Silo Studio, Fashion East newcomer Harry Evans will be showing smaller accessories, and illustrator and sculptor Saelia Aparicio will be showcasing her pickle jars filled with balloons. There are seven designers in total, each with their own shed and creative world. One shed, devoted to workshops and talks, has my pattern all over it and I will be in and around the market.

ABOVE: Bethan Laura Wood in her studio with a bag from the forthcoming 'Toothpaste' collection for luxury Italian accessories brand Valextra. Wood designed witty handles and clasps for the SS18 range
BELOW: Two worlds collide as colourful patterned sheds nestle among the vast corporate structures of Broadgate for Makers Mini Market

ABOVE: Bethan Laura Wood (centre) with her band of East London creatives from Makers Mini Market. From left: Tino Seubert, Beth PostleAttua Aparicio Torinos of Silo Studio, Ryan Coleman Connolly, Kim Thomé, Saelia Aparicio, Harry Evans; Evans invites you in to see his take on menswear and accessories

You've designed for Nilufar Gallery, Bitossi CeramicheKvadrat, Abet Laminati and Hermès, among others. What are you most known for?
My style is very colourful with lots of layers and texture. My work often focuses on materiality and exploring that through design. I also do a lot of locality-based work and make direct references from places when I have the opportunity to travel. For example, I’ve completed a range of designs based on Mexico City: the colours, patterns and architecture there all resonate with me.

Where's next on your travel wish list?
I went to Japan a year ago and absolutely loved it, so I would really love to go back and work with artisans there. I’m also a big lover of kimonos. I would like to spend time seeing how the fabrics are woven and explore how the shapes could be taken in a furniture direction, while honouring their proportions.

BELOW: Wood's spectacular blown glass lights at Peter Pilotto's 'Townhouse Takeover' during September's London Design Festival 2017

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Your floor lamps for Peter Pilotto were a hit at September's London Design Festival and your work appeared in three of our top LDF17 FizzPicks. What was your highlight?
I love the opportunity to collaborate with others on a project like the Peter Pilotto Townhouse Takeover. Much like the Makers Mini Market, I enjoy everyone working together to create something special. 

How does working in fashion and interiors compare?
In the fashion industry, the speed is crazy fast, whereas furniture production has a much longer lead time. For me, I really enjoy the crossover. I’ve just collaborated on a line of handles and clasps for Valextra in Italy, for a limited-edition range of their bags called the 'Toothpaste' collection. It was great to have access to their production and find a way to incorporate my skills too.

ABOVE: Classics with a twist... Milan brand Valextra's 'Toothpaste' collection of iconic 'Iside' (left) and 'Passepartout' (right) handbags updates the original designs' sleek lines with Wood's cartoon-like, graphic handles and clasps. A new 'It' bag duo is born

Left to your own devices, what’s your interior style?
There’s a lot of stuff in my house! It’s not minimal. A lot of my work is inspired by colours, patterns and things that I find at flea markets, so my home is pretty much filled with stuff like that. All of these things go on to inspire a project.

Is there an era or style that you’re drawn to? 
I have a love of 60s Pop furniture and Memphis. I like the joy and excitement in all of their colours. I also live in an amazing Art Deco building in the middle of Hackney. I love it. The signature colour of the architecture is dusky blue with mint-green staircases and pastel-pink doors. I knew it was the place for me.

What qualities do you most like in a room? 
I find lots of objects comforting. A minimal, blank white space may be the dream for some but it is the opposite for me. I love to enter people’s spaces or worlds where there are so many things to look at and explore. I like things busy.

Growing up, what was the dream?
I’ve always been a collector. When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to paint my walls. I never got my ideas for interior decor past my parents, so I’d change things up with objects instead. 

What part of the design process do you enjoy most?
I love dreaming up concepts and realising the difficult bit of turning ideas and sketches into something amazing. I like model making, so that always makes me happy when I can get off the computer and start building something in 3D. Also, when I go into a workshop and start talking, touching materials, seeing what’s working and what’s not, that's really enjoyable for me.

Who are your design heroes?
My tutors at the RCA, Jurgen Bey (above left) and Martino Gamper (left), have been really influential on my work but there are many, many, many others.

What are you most proud of?
Usually, it’s the last thing I’ve done. I like to keep challenging myself. I have a soft spot for my laminate marquetry. It’s a language and a technique that I love playing with so that’s one of my favourite pieces.

What’s your social media of choice?
I’m aware that I must take part in social media (*sighs*). I’m not really a writer, so I use Instagram the most. It’s fun to see what other people are posting and photographing. 
bethanlaurawood.com  
broadgate.co.uk/makers-mini-market-east-london-where-to-shop
#BroadgateDESIGN

Makers Mini Market, curated by Bethan Laura Wood, runs from 4 to 7 October 2017 at Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate, London EC2 (11am–6pm, free admission)

SEBASTIAN WRONG Wrong For Hay

Making Hay while the sun shines: Brit design talent Sebastian Wrong

Making Hay while the sun shines: Brit design talent Sebastian Wrong

Co-founder of Established & Sons, Brit designer Sebastian Wrong’s latest venture Wrong For Hay sees him teaming up with Danish interiors brand Hay. Demonstrating his knack for fostering design talent, the collection is an ultra- chic mix of lighting, furniture, textiles, glassware and ceramics at prices we can afford. So Wrong. So right!


BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

How did the collaboration with Hay come about?
I met the founders Mette and Rolf Hay in Copenhagen through a mutual friend Stefan Diez, who was working on a few projects with Hay. Originally, the concept was born out of developing a new lighting collection. Hay don’t do lighting and never have. It became much bigger than that pretty quickly.

What's your role?
I’m the Design Director, so I’m working with my own team on designs, while commissioning a number of international designers on individual products, too. Developing a collection is largely based on intuition, refining any design until it answers our needs.

 

TOP ROW FROM LEFT:

‘Ori’ salt and pepper mills by Anderssen & Voll come in five graphic colours

‘Pion’ lights by Bertjan Pot feature a stitched paper shade with a cool Art Deco aesthetic

This ‘Rope Trick’ lamp by Stefan Diez has an adjustable shade that directs the beam in different directions

Part of the ‘Tela’ range of glassware, this carafe has a delicate organic shape

BOTTOM ROW FROM LEFT:

The ‘Tela’ glassware by Silo Studio is softly textured and
subtly tinted

The seat of the ‘Revolver’ stool by Leon Ransmeier rotates 360 degrees

‘Ice’ cushion by Nathalie du Pasquier. Very modern Memphis and very now

‘Memory’ cushion by Nathalie du Pasquier. We totally heart these vibrant geometrics.

 

What makes this collection different from what you've done before?
It's important for us to benchmark quality products at an affordable cost. I'm designing this collection to be a commercial success, therefore the prices have to be competitive. A lot can be done with a little! 

What's next for you?
Growing the business Wrong For Hay. It’s a full-time commitment. It’s not a one-off collection or a capsule. We’re a standalone independent company to Hay but obviously very closely aligned.

If you weren't a designer, what might you have been? 
I studied art and specialised in sculpture, so I probably would have been an artist – and I thought I was going to be for quite some time!

How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. Quite free-spirited. And slow...

Which creative types have influenced you most? 
My tastes and interests change so often, but if I was pushed I'd say the sculptor Richard Serra and painter Philip Guston. I would invite designers Richard Sapper and Ettore Sottsass along to the dinner table, too.

How do you find inspiration? 
By opening my eyes. I’m not trying to be pretentious by saying that. If I got stuck in a box for a period of time, I would find some inspiration looking at the brown walls. It is more to do with a state of mind – being open to look at things and having the luxury of time to play with ideas. I do have a lot of books that I’ve been collecting for many years, so they provide a large amount of source material that I often refer to for research and ideas. 

Is there one product that you admire and wish you had designed?
I wish I’d got the patent for wheeled suitcases! 

Which social media do you enjoy most?
I don't use any. I don't have the time.
wrongforhay.com