The Gathering Hand comprises furniture, glassware and stone objects designed by GRAS to celebrate the innate human desire to make. First shown at Blue Mountain School during London Design Festival 2022, the pieces can now be viewed by a Scottish audience for the first time at Custom Lane, home of GRAS.
The collection features three typologies – The Carpenter’s Tables, The Glassblower’s Vessels and The Stonemason’s Objects – each crafted using processes that celebrate the skills of specialist collaborators including Edmond Byrne, Namon Gaston and Studio Corkinho. Here, GRAS’s Product Design Engineer, Alistair Byars, explains how the pieces were developed and what visitors to the exhibition can expect to encounter.
Craftsmanship and collaboration are key to everything we do at GRAS and these values are reflected in this collection. We wanted to highlight the importance of making, as well as the traditional processes used by the amazing makers we worked with.
The Gathering Hand explores GRAS’s commitment to work across various scales and mediums. This project reflects the idea of many hands making something together, with the names of each piece touching on the different crafts that unite under the umbrella of a carefully curated collection.
We were really interested in exploring evocative materials that invite touch and physical interaction. We also wanted to use materials we hadn’t worked with before and that celebrate the skills of specialist makers and manufacturers.
Craftsmanship and collaboration are key to everything we do at GRAS and these values are reflected in this collection. We wanted to highlight the importance of making, as well as the traditional processes used by the amazing makers we worked with. We came to them with a desire to learn from their deep understanding of their craft, which allowed us to use the materials in experimental ways.
The tables, vessels and objects are powerful pieces that generate a certain atmosphere or aura. We used simple, almost primitive forms to maintain a focus on the materiality, such as the textured cork, crackled glass and bead-blasted stone.
The pieces really complement each other and come alive when you see them together, particularly in natural light. When light passes through the crackled glass onto the cork table surface, for instance, it creates a compelling experience. Likewise, the bead-blasted stone has an amazing texture when you see it in a soft light.
These works really benefit from being seen in the flesh, which is why it’s great to be showing them at Custom Lane. One of the positive aspects of the exhibition in London was that people were keen to touch the pieces, and we encouraged this. Many of them were intrigued by the cork tables as they weren’t initially sure what the material was. We hope the experience of interacting with the objects leaves a lasting impact. We are certainly enriched by the reactions and feedback as we consider future works.
We are relishing the deeper exploration of integrating object-scale works within our architectural projects. While the pieces stand well in isolation and invite use in any environment, they have helped envisage a route to developing a broader offer of bespoke works, tailored to our projects and our clients.
Exhibiting at Custom Lane and sharing the collection with our immediate community feels like a very fitting close to this first chapter of The Gathering Hand.
These works really benefit from being seen in the flesh, which is why it’s great to be showing them at Custom Lane.
Visit The Gathering Hand at Custom Lane until 23 April 2023.
Photography by Shaun Barton