Design Centre Stories

Gallery Highlights: Perfectly Imperfect

Craft is experiencing a boom in the interiors world, with top decorators using one-off pieces to introduce soul and character to their schemes.  This synergy between interior design and craft is the reason why Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour launched Artefact, a new contemporary craft fair.

With our world becoming increasingly digital, some of the most compelling objects to be found at Artefact are those that look obviously hand-made, from dripping glazes to uneven textiles, possessing a tactility that we cannot enjoy in the same way looking at them on a screen. Pieces that are perfectly imperfect give us a direct connection to the hand of the maker – and the stronger our connection, the more likely they are to have a longevity that goes beyond fads and fashions, delivering a lifetime of satisfaction to their owner.

Contemporary Applied Arts is showing a conical bowl by Emmanuel Cooper (above); since his death in 2012 interest in his studio pottery has increased significantly, and he is particularly known for his mastery of glazing. This porcelain piece features a bright yellow finish, spotted with contrasting colour that spills delicately over the rim.

At Jaggedart, Forest & Found’s Max Bainbridge take nature’s imperfection as his starting point: this jar (pictured above left) is made from burnished sycamore and makes a virtue of the wood’s irregular knots, Loewe Craft Prize finalist Akiko Hirai is a name to know in ceramics: her works often feature cool-toned glazes but are a riot of uneven surfaces: she is inspired by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi – finding beauty in transience and imperfection –  giving work such as her ‘Moon Jar’ from Cavaliero Finn (pictured above centre) a joyous spontaneity. In the world of textiles, Archana Pathuk’s pieces at Ruup & Form are like miniature worlds you want to peer in to: ‘Core’ (pictured above right) is made from map paper threaded through vintage linen. Pathak’s British-Indian heritage informs her work, which explores themes of place and identity by using as its raw material memory-infused objects such as photographs. maps, postcards and diaries.

There is a growing trend for forms with an exaggerated imperfection and naivety – most likely as a response to digital production being so eerily precise. Seeds Gallery is the place to go for these cutting-edge makers, including Austria’s Onka Allmayer-Beck, whose ‘Mini Collection’ of slab-built clay objects is pictured above. The gallery is also showing the work of Jamie Shaw, who makes lighting, furniture and objects made from extruded waste plastic – all created with an extrusion gun of his own making.