Art: Fall in love with Furniture at the William Benington Gallery
With London Design Festival fast approaching, I decided to go on a hunt for innovative one-offs on show in the capital’s art galleries. For those interested in scouting out a completely unique item for their home – something made from a true combination of skill, care and artistic flair – look no further than William Benington Gallery.
On Thursday night, I went to the exclusive opening night of Furniture Forward, the gallery’s group show of emerging British talent. The space has been curated minimally, with only a handful of works on view, yet the set-up works well by giving the breathing space these objects need. Each piece is utterly desirable for being more art than product, inviting curiosity and scrutiny in a highly tactile way. Some items even take that idea one step further, such as a magical Whirlpool Table ready to mesmerise with its spinning patterns at a light push.
I fell in love with Green Hybreed by Charlotte Kingsnorth – a simple chair that appears to be undergoing a mysterious transformation into an abstract organic shape. An otherworldly object, this piece would make for a show-stopping centrepiece in a minimal dining room or study.
At the opening night, I asked participating furniture designer Michael Carroll. Fascinated by making processes, particularly joining techniques, Michael told me about his discovery that rope contracts once it meets with water. Once he began experimenting with the possibilities of this scientific finding, he determined that rope could then be treated as a strong, sturdy material in its own right. His In-Tension Bench featured in the show uses only taut rope suspended between its sides for a seating platform.
Located in Islington within a few minutes walk from Angel station, William Benington Gallery showcases contemporary British sculpture, installation and 3D design. At my first visit earlier in the summer, the space had been completely transformed into a sea of colour by Kim Thorne’s amazing tape installation Works on Reflection II. The gallery also organises Sculptural every summer, a large-scale outdoor exhibition at Coombe Trenchard in West Devon.
Furniture Forward runs until 5 October.