gareth neal’s handcrafted leather, straw + wood chairs at maison&objet
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

 

 

on the occasion of maison&objet 2015, a specially curated exhibition under the title of ‘MAKE’ was presented exploring the making of objects, focusing more on production than a design in its completed form. the show displayed a range of objects — from furniture to tableware — that expressed a sensibility towards high quality craftsmanship and materials. among the works were a selection of chairs by gareth neal whose practice is strongly embedded in engaging these aspects of design, alongside their inherent functions.

 

my designs endeavour to adhere to these principles and create lifelong relationships for a more sustainable future.’ – gareth neal

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detail of the woven straw back of ‘brodgar’ chair
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

 

 

‘brodgar’ is the british designer’s contemporary interpretation of the orkney chair that is characterized by a straw back. neal’s version merges forms of the windsor chair with woven straw from the orkney isles. the traditionally low chair features stumpy legs that have been formed in a way that allows the sitter to work, perhaps knit, from the ground, with a drawer built into the seat to store house tools. the long straw back has been curved to protect the sitter from drafts. it has been realized in collaboration with the new craftsmen, and traditional orkney chair maker kevin gauld.

 


the making of the ‘brodgar’ chair
video courtesy of gareth neal

 

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‘brodgar’ chair on show as part of the MAKE exhibition at maison&objet
image © designboom

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
‘hamylin’ chair
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

 

 

‘hamylin’ is a set of six oak smoked leatherback chairs which neal developed in collaboration with bill amberg studios. the design combines a windsor chair vernacular in oak, with a solid section of durable oak-bark tanned leather which forms its back.

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
‘hamylin’ chair
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
the back support of the ‘hamylin’ chair is formed from a durable oak-bark tanned leather
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
nàdurra ‘dram’ chair
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

 

 

similar in its production is neal’s ‘nàdurra’ dram chair which was fueled by the glenlivet nàdurra, a connoisseurial whiskey crafted in small runs using traditional techniques. translating this process to furniture, ‘dram’ (which means ‘drink’) captures the spirit of nàdurra (‘natural’ in gaelic) in both its form and function. it is the designer’s intention that the chair itself is steeped with an artisanal approach, and that one is enveloped in its materials as they are enjoying a dram of the glenlivet nàdurra.

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detail of the bent wood support with arm rest
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
nàdurra ‘dram’ chair detail
image courtesy of gareth neal

 

 


making of the glenlivet ‘nàdurra’ dram chair
video courtesy of officialtheglenlivet

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
nàdurra ‘dram’ chair presented at maison&objet 2015
image © designboom

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
installation view of ‘hamylin’ chair and nàdurra ‘dram’ chair illuminated by a leather lampshade by pepe heykoop
image © designboom

 

gareth neal chairs maisonobjet designboom
‘hamylin’ chair
image © designboom