crafted by the likes of jasper morrison, max lamb and martino gamper, leaders of london’s top cultural institutions were invited to collaborate with renowned designers to create ‘legacy’ pieces on show for london design festival 2019. the objects – whether of personal or professional relevance – needed to be of significance to be passed on for generations either to a family member or for the institution they lead. the 10 pieces are all crafted from sustainable american red oak, and are on display at the victoria & albert museum and natural history museum, london for the duration of the festival.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
duo by terence woodgate for alex beard (royal opera house)


named duo, terence woodgate created two sofas for the meeting room of alex beard, chief executive of the royal opera house. crafted using a CNC router, the design’s red oak was given a curved chamfer detail on its corners, hiding its metal rods that were included for support. this ensures the piece still evokes a lightweight aesthetic.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
valet by max lamb for maria balshaw (tate)



with teal blue-dyed red oak on one side and a mirror on the other, max lamb created a multi-functional dressing screen for dr. maria balshaw, director of tate. the design provides a space, as well as storing unit, for the director to get changed and prepared in her office when running between meetings and events. called valet, the free-standing and flat-pack furniture piece has a natural, soft form with hooks and surfaces to hold items. the designer exploited the porosity of the red oak by pushing a teal blue dye into the material.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
beehave by marlène huissoud for sir ian blatchford (science museum)



titled beehave, marlène huissoud‘s legacy piece has created a buzz for sir ian blatchford, director and chief executive of the science museum group. the handcrafted beehive is crafted from red oak that has been blackened using a scorching technique. the surface then features special engravings using a pyrograph, which took the creative and her team over 100 hours to complete. the design will be displayed in the museum’s new permanent gallery of the future of agriculture.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
fugu by jasper morrison for tristram hunt (victoria & albert museum)



for dr tristram hunt, director of the victoria & albert museum, jasper morrison created a set of two chairs and a table to be used for those waiting for meetings with the director at the institute. called fugu, soft curves and radii have been formed to ensure the designs are comfortable despite its relatively hard construction material. these were shaped using a woodturner, CNC machine, and then finished by hand. by leaving the surfaces untouched, morrison’s furniture showcases the strong grain of the red oak.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
wooden hinge by raw edges for iwona blazwick (whitechapel gallery)



yael mer and shay alkalay of raw edges created wooden hinge, a bookstand for iwona blazwick, director of the whitechapel gallery. the design will be used to recognize the gallery’s annual richard schlagman art book awards and house new library catalogues. its light and intriguing form hopes to invite young students and children who visit the gallery to explore the books on offer. as a subtle detail, its folding mechanism has been machined with red oak hinges, rather than metal ones.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
musical shelf by martino gamper for tamara rojo (english national ballet)



as an item to display her love for music, martino gamper crafted a musical shelf for tamara rojo, artistic director of the english antional ballet. the piece reflects her connection with the medium while also functioning as a display for her extensive vinyl collection. the designer used a combination of fumed red oak to create the horizontal shelves and a lighter veneer for the upright components. by differing the grain direction, the result offers a subtle detail that reflects the oblique design of the piece.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
writer’s collection by sebastian cox for amanda nevill (british film institute)



consisting of a pen holder, desk and chair, sebastian cox created the writer’s collection for amanda nevil, CEO of the british film institute. the design represents her love of writing and storytelling, which she uses both personally and for her work at the institute. firstly, the angled curve of the collection mirrors the perspective lines on the BFI mazzannine where the pieces will reside. the desk is lined with discreet leather panels on its top, which can then be removed to reveal a special compartment for the pen case and a paper scroll. 

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
serpetine postbox by studiomama for hans ulrich obrist (serpentine galleries)



paired with hans ulrich obrist, director of the serpentine galleries, jack mama and nina tolstrup of studiomama to create a large and small edition of a postbox for the london-based gallery. believing in the important role postcards play in contemporary art, obrist often asks artists, poets and architects he meets to write or sketch something on a postcard – and these structures will be placed outside the serpentine gallery where he works. the postboxes have fluting detail on the exterior, created with a spindle moulder on individual pieces of red oak which were then glued together. lastly, the mouth was created from a CNC-cut block of red oak.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
au by tomoko azumi for kwame kwei-armah (young vic)



as an outside sculptural structure, tomoko azumi created au for the garden of kwame kwei-armah, artistic director of the young vic. the director told azumi that wood made him think of outdoor furniture in the caribbean, of the slave ships that brought his ancestors from africa to the caribbean, and the colonial ship that brought his parents to the UK. the designer used thin slats of red oak that were steam-bent into the shape of a boat structure. it will be placed in his london garden, before passing on to grandson.

10 designers craft legacy pieces for cultural institutions at LDF 2019
the nest by dallas-pierce-quintero for sir john sorrell (london design festival)



shaped like a bird’s nest, juliet quintero of dallas-pierce-quintero built a lookout seat for sir john sorrell, chairman of london design festival. titled the nest, the seat will be placed next to one of the ponds facing the sunset at the chairman’s country home. it offers a place for contemplation and reflection within the shelter of red oak planks, which have been further treated to withstand its outside use.






project info:


collaborators: american hardwood export council

dates: 14-22 september 2019 at the victoria & albert museum and natural history museum

institutes: royal opera house, tate, science museum, victoria & albert museum, whitechapel gallery, english national ballet, british film institute, serpentine galleries, young vic, and london design festival

designers: terence woodgate, max lamb, marlène huissoud, jasper morrison, raw edges, martino gamper, sebastian cox, studiomama, tomoko azumi, and dallas-pierce-quintero