World-renowned architect Zaha Hadid and British designer Gareth Neal pooled their acumen in the recent “The Wish List,” an annual project initiated by the American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture.
Marrying architecture and design, the project spawns exclusive, one-off items that push the boundaries of these interdependent disciplines. Hadid and Neal teamed up to craft two sculptural wood vases made from stack laminated solid oak cut using a CNC ball end cutter.
Starting with the concept of fluidity, essentially a one-word distillation of Hadid’s architectural work, the duo toyed with the idea of a carafe or water carrier, because Hadid wanted to create tableware from wood.
“I was keen to take advantage of the Hadid studio’s advance computer modeling software, pushing the boundaries of digital tools,” Neal commented on his website. “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.”
Post-manufacture, the vessels were hand-finished and sanded. While Neal initially envisaged a burnt finish or an ebonizing technique using iron filings and vinegar, Hadid loved the original wood finish.
Designs from The Wish List were displayed at the V&A Museum during London Design Festival 2014. Going forward, the sculptural vases will be exhibited at COLLECT 2015 by the Sarah Myerscough Gallery, which has exclusive representation, and at the Saatchi Gallery, London, in May 2015 and then Miami/Basel in June 2015.