make yourself comfortable at chatsworth
march 28 – october 23, 2015
chatsworth, bakewell, derbyshire, DE45 1PP


chatsworth in derbyshire, england has invited internationally acclaimed designers raw edges and tom price to create specially commissioned designs for its 2015 headline exhibition, ‘make yourself comfortable’; positioned throughout the historic building in a way that reveals new insights into the house, its elaborate interior and extensive art collection.


raw edges’ will takeover the chatsworth sculpture gallery, that was built in the 19th century to display the 6th duke’s contemporary sculpture collection, including the ‘endymion’ by antonio canova. when the space was first built, the 6th duke wanted a floor of swedish porphyry to offset his contemporary sculpture. this had to be abandoned and he injected colour into the gallery by inserting mosaic panels into the pedestals. drawn to this detail, raw edges fills the entirety of the display room with a blanket of bold tones, expressing the backdrop of colors its creator craved two centuries ago.

raw edges chatsworth house
artistic rendering of raw edges’ ‘endgrain’ installation, specially commissioned for ‘make yourself comfortable’




‘endgrain’ is derived from raw edge’s furniture collection of the same name (see designboom’s coverage of the project here), which will see the london-based studio take over the historic space with a perfectly fitted grid-like wooden floor, with brilliant pathways through the gallery. a tree can carry water and minerals throughout its entire body by using its grains. raw edges have used this same method to add and transfer pigment along the grain in order to paint a single block of wood from within. the studio has soaked individual pieces of timber in dyes in order to build up a colorful collection, that are later glued to one another in vivid patterns. when sculpting these complex patterned blocks into the finished objects, the three-dimensional shape distorts the rectangular graphic patterns in unexpected and curvaceous ways. from the most densely coloured areas, benches and stools emerge with their legs seemingly growing like tree trunks from a new indoor landscape. the seats are positioned to offer a new perspective on selected sculptures and viewpoints within the gallery.

raw edges chatsworth house
‘endgrain’ is derived from raw edge’s furniture collection of the same name



raw edges comments: as soon as we saw the 19th century sculpture gallery we were fascinated by the idea of introducing colour to the space, in order to create a backdrop to its monochrome sculptures and interior. ‘endgrain’ is a tactile installation that encourages visitors to engage with the space by following a colorful pathway and invites them to sit and enjoy different views of the sculptures.’

raw edges chatsworth tom price designboom
‘endgrain’ seemingly grows out of the ground like a tree trunk

raw edges chatsworth house
detail of ‘endgrain’ sprouting up through the ground




tom price’s ‘counterpart’ is a special commission for the permanent collection at chatsworth. the work sees two blocks sit together, but materially are diametrically apart. one dark block is made from coal, a reference to mineral rights held by the devonshire family. its surface absorbs light in contrast to the opposing transparent synthetic resin block. the glowing resin block directly references crystals in the mineral collection at chatsworth, begun by georgiana, duchess of devonshire in the 18th century. lumps of tar are set within, igniting an exothermic reaction, produced by the resin as it cures, heating the tar and forcing it to expand into whatever limited space it can claim as the resin solidifies. the block is illuminated to show the resulting fractures in the resin.


the two blocks also respond to the array and quality of materials present in both the fabric of the building and its contents. price was intrigued by the material relationship between the artworks on display and the plinths upon which they sit and wanted to address this hierarchy between art, nature and function.


tom price comments:throughout the house a fascinating interplay between nature and artifice is evident everywhere from a beautifully veined stone lintel to an intricately carved wooden frame bordering a trompe l’oeil depiction of nature. each is magnificent in its own right. at times the natural splendour of a marble plinth would completely eclipse the sculpture it was built to support, which made me question the true value of materials in contrast to what is made from them. i wanted to celebrate this blurring of nature, craft and art by combining natural and synthetic materials to create objects that look almost mineral-like, but are in fact entirely fabricated by hand.’

raw edges chatsworth tom price designboom
‘counterpart’ by tom price, specially commissioned for the chatsworth’s permanent collection




tom price and raw edge’s creations will sit alongside the private collection of the duke and duchess of devonshire, showcasing the latest seats acquired by the family, as well as an array of chairs on loan by design contemporaries including marc newson, amanda levete, thomas heatherwick and moritz waldemeyer. these objects have been selected to reinterpret either the space they are displayed in or an object from the collection. the exhibition is designed to be engaging, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the house and collection in new and surprising ways, to make themselves comfortable at chatsworth. the exhibition will, joined by loans of contemporary seating from designers around the world. ‘make yourself comfortable’ at chatsworth is curated by hannah obee, exhibitions and special projects curator at chatsworth. “the new perspectives that raw edges and tom price have brought to the devonshire collection through their commissions will provide different and exciting experiences and new stories to share with our visitors.’



designboom has received this project through its ‘DIY submissions’ feature, which welcomes readers to submit their own work for publication. see more designboom readers submissions here.