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The Height of Design: Bethan Laura Wood

As part of our recurring series, we explore the object the multi-disciplinary designer singles out as the embodiment of great design.


2 min read

The item: Sitzung (Meeting or Sitting) by Martino Gamper

Why does this item represent the height of design?

Following on from his 100 Chairs in 100 Days project, this body of works shows how a mix of focus, play and material investigation can embrace the most iconic design object: a chair. Gamper uses this as a vehicle, to explore a well-known form  – considering the intersection between craft and industrial processes, with the intention of highlighting the seat as a sculptural object. I love that this project works with the layering of materials discarded from a stage of industrial production, but which can be reworked to produce one-off individual pieces. Each one helps Martino and his team discover more about the material and the possibilities it can bring; learning though making.

How does this item inspire you or your work?

Gamper was my tutor at the RCA and has continued to support me and my practice. When I saw this new project I was so inspired by his passion to push this material – to talk with it, to share and play.

What do you think has been the impact of this item?

I love how the forms and curves have a conversation with the current move towards the softer edge, but in a way that is unmistakably from Gamper’s hand. I think it really shows a master at work, one who can both have a conversation with the history of an object, as well as evolving and adding to its story.

The personal connection

I hope to be able to see one of these pieces and get to have my own encounter with them, especially the latest additions that introduce colour. In my own practice, and latest works designed for the NGV in Australia (a Women in Design commission, supported by MECCA), I have also been working with ALPI, the producer of the board sheets Gamper has been exploring. Starting with their material, I developed works that play with the normally unseen one-off patterns formed in mid-production. I hope that my body of work can also have a lasting effect, exciting and inspiring others to use design as tool of learning and play.

Wood in as an award-winning multidisciplinary designer characterised by material investigation, artisan collaboration and a passion for colour and detail. bethanlaurawood.com

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