New Monochrome Marquetry and Brass Pieces By Bethan Gray

Bethan Gray presents new monochrome marquetry and brass pieces from her Shamsian Collection, and a hand carved marble tea set, on her return to this year's designjunction for the London Design Festival 

Bethan Gray, winner of Best British Designer Award 2013/14 is delighted to announce that she will be showcasing a series of new pieces, alongside some of the most popular pieces from her award-winning studio at this year’s designjunction. 

Bethan has an extraordinary background. Her family hails from an ancient Rajasthani clan that over centuries migrated across Arabia and Persia before settling in the Celtic heartland of Wales. It’s a journey and heritage that weaves a rich pattern of influences and inspirations, which draw on craft traditions of both East and West. To this Bethan adds an innate ability to translate and transform a variety of cultural references into iconic contemporary pieces. 

At designjunction she will be launching new pieces from her Shamsian Collection, inspired by Omani architectural references and craft, and a new marble tea set, Victoria, in collaboration with Editions Milano, hand crafted by artisans in Italy. 

Monochrome Nizwa Cabinet

Monochrome Nizwa Cabinet

Bethan is also delighted to continue her collaboration with Mohamad Reza Shamsian, a highly sought after, masterful Omani artist. 

Shamsian and his team of 70 highly skilled master craftsmen at their studio in Muscat Oman, specialise in various highly intricate crafts such as marquetry, khatam, damascene and solid brass inlay. For the last thirty years he has been incorporating Islamic art into high-end furniture and interiors, working notably for the Sultan of Oman. 

The pieces are made using the technique of marquetry, a traditional Islamic craft that dates back to the sixteenth century. The process involves cutting intricate patterns out of multiple layers of coloured veneer, which are then arranged together and glued by hand to create a highly detailed decoration on furniture and interior panels. 

Dhow Cabinet in Charcoal

Dhow Cabinet in Charcoal

Launching at designjunction is the Dhow cabinetry collection featuring a grand 4 door cabinet as well as a chest of drawers. For these Bethan has taken inspiration from the traditional Dhow sailing boats of Oman. Traditional dhows were driven by large triangular lateen sails made of cotton and sewn together in strips. The sails were bound to the hull using ropes made from coir, which created a unique and textured lineation. Bethan took inspiration from this to design the distinct and exquisite curved patterning, made from solid brass overlay. 

At the heart of the Shamsian collection is the beautiful Nizwa cabinet, now available in a new monochrome finish. 

The detailing of which takes inspiration from the architectural patterning of the Nizwa Fort in Oman. The robust building has powerfully stood for centuries as a symbol of military strength, but through its hidden and intricate details, it also reveals Omani architectural ingenuity. Elegantly crafted using brass overlay, the repeating pattern on Bethan’s Nizwa pieces reflect the rounded architectural composition of the fort’s castellation. The Nizwa collection is made with beautiful maple veneer sourced from Italy and the ombré effect on the cabinet is created by hand using a technique called stain shading. 

Victoria Tea Set on Dhow Chest of Drawers

Victoria Tea Set on Dhow Chest of Drawers

Also launching at designjunction is the Victoria tea set. Bethan has taken inspiration for this from traditional tea sets in the V&A’s ceramics archive in London. Victoria celebrates the ritual of drinking tea, merging a classic British tradition, with a classic Italian material - marble. 

The collection features a relief pattern, hand-carved from Arrabescato marble by Italian master craftsmen. This fine edging and the use of elegant shape adds a delicacy to the marble pieces, just as fine as the ceramics found at the V&A. Brushed brass is also used to add lustre and warmth. 

The tea set consists of a teapot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl, a cake stand, teacup & saucer and a dessert plate and is designed for Editions Milano. 

DESIGNJUNCTION INFORMATION: Stand A7 | designjunction at The London Design Festival 2017 | 21st - 24th of September