‘Ves-el’ by Gareth Neal with Zaha Hadid, The Wish List, LDF 2014

Initiated by the American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture, The Wish List brings together a stellar list of architects and designers for a unique collaborative project.I was excited to be paired with Zaha Hadid, who’s brief was simple and open: to create some form of tableware made from wood. I approached the project by thinking about the fluid dynamic of Zaha Hadid’s designs. The water carafe idea emerged from considering the liquid nature of her work, but juxtaposing it with a functional element to contain water within. I was keen to take advantage of the Hadid studio’s advance computer modelling software, pushing the boundaries of digital tools. I was particularly interested in the idiosyncrasies of traditional hand processes such as a hand thrown pot, or a raised piece of silverware and how simulating these could be achieved through digital imitation.

Through using the traditional vessel form as a starting point and subverting its appearance to dramatic extremes, mimicking traditional carving technique I hope the pieces will embed the design with a sense of the handmade through the arm of a robot, questioning the viewer’s perceptions of craft and the handmade.

In a visit it the V&A, I got to see these pieces in person and they stood out to me from the rest on display. I think I liked the modern twist on a classic ceramic pot in another material. It also looses the functional aspect of a vessel and becomes a visual piece that is made using the digital process of CNC. I like the aspect of texture that has been put into the piece adding a architectural quality.

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