Video: Tea birds, plastic seaweed and a riot of colors: Bethan Laura Wood is the shining star of modern design
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
She dyes her eyebrows yellow and her hair blue, thinks about how to turn tea bloom into jewelry, talks about a thousand things at once and distinguishes thousands of shades. Bethan Laura Wood is a style icon, one of the most promising and at the same time mysterious figures of modern design. Why do gallery owners hunt for the work of this strange girl, and customers line up to her?
Bethan was born in 1983 in Shropshire (the main childhood memory: wallpaper in her parents' kitchen with a pattern of triangles), and at the age of thirty she became a real prima of modern design. She is often called eccentric, and this is true - bright, like a bird of paradise, Bethan creates fantastic things, inspired by the works of abstractionists, distant wanderings and vague dreams. Her creative style and her image are amazing - but she is not at all an insane artist whose creations are impossible to understand.
It is for her pictorial, rebellious, maximalist approach to work that Bethan has become for critics the messiah of the revival of design as a form of creativity after many years of Scandinavian rationality and minimalism that has set the teeth on edge.
Bethan Laura Wood is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London. As a student, she attracted the attention of critics, especially the influential Milanese gallerist Nina Yashar. Almost every design student dreams of creating unique things for luxurious interiors, and not numerous variations of the usual forms - but almost always these dreams are ridiculed as excessive romance and even a profanity of design, because the right designer designs for mass production!
But Bethan managed, literally in the first years of design practice, to be among the masters of art design, releasing their masterpieces in limited editions and not constrained by the strict requirements of customers.
The cheerful Englishwoman found a response in the hearts of Italians who prefer expressive, experimental design.
Bethan creates furniture, decorations, dishes and lamps, but the functional purpose of the thing is not the starting point in her work. The girl practices associative design, starting with an idea, and then determining in what form to clothe it.
Cardboard boxes, stairs and escalators, patchwork and nautical motifs - everything that touches Bethan's eyes becomes an inspiration for her.
Unlike most modern designers who prefer to experiment with form, Bethan is encouraged to love color and ornament - elements undeservedly forgotten by modernist design and revived in our time, when design, craft and art are intertwined again, creating something completely new.
But Bethan is not limited to decor - she is attracted by the study of the properties and possibilities of materials, technologies, the joints of industry and craft. For example, she created a cute, but in its own way innovative cup - as it is used and soiled with tea bloom, the cup becomes more ornamented.
Color for Bethan is a natural, inborn language. Her physiological sensitivity to color is simply phenomenal - where an ordinary person sees only one shade, Bethan will distinguish several dozen, just as a professional perfumer catches many notes in one scent.
Bethan does not hesitate to say that she is creating "feminine design" - as she calls attention to cozy details, some fabulousness and love of crafts, which, indeed, are now characteristic of famous women designers. Even her sources of inspiration are associated with the images of women - the geometric experiments of Sonia Delaunay, the church dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bright otomi embroidery created by Mexicans, the designer of the 70s Zandra Rhodes.
Bethan loves to dress brightly and thinks out outfits as carefully as her projects, adhering to the concept of "fusion" of the author and the thing. She uses colors and their combinations in clothes, before applying new coloristic solutions in design - this is a way to "live" the project, to become intimate with it, to pass the idea through herself.
In London, where she is renting a small studio, Bethan loves more than anything else … the flea market - there you can find something interesting and get charged with creative energy.
The designer strives to surround herself with strange, unusual things, the walls in her studio are decorated with plastic purple algae, reproductions of Matisse and Kusami, candy wrappers - everything is colorful, as if in the tropics or at the carnival. The girl is not at all annoyed by the variegation - in this variegation there is a system, its own music, its dominant notes.
Bethan often sneers at her creative "greed" - she is completely unable to choose one direction of work for herself and would gladly do everything at the same time if there were a little more hours in the day.
Textiles, glass, experiments with ceramics and resin - Bethan's creative interests are very wide.
At the same time, she is distinguished by a peculiar sense of humor. She decorates luxury boutique windows with PVC coral reefs and huge fake fruits, uses laminate flooring to make luxury goods, and infuses interiors with references to warehouses.
In her seemingly chaotic work - what only Bethan did not undertake! - there is also a logic that permeates the entire creative path of a designer since his student days. She calls the change in her creative - mostly, perhaps, coloristic - preferences "windows of time" - starting with pastel shades, Bethan moves to brighter and more unexpected solutions.
Bethan Laura Wood is literally snapped up right now. Collaborations with Abet Laminati, Kvadrat, Bitossi Ceramiche, Tory Burch, Tolix and Hermés are not yet a complete list of her accomplishments. Bethan collaborates with the London Design Museum, the Swiss Institute in New York, the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, and works for the artisan workshops of Venice and Vincenza. She is also a professor at the ECAL School of Design in Lausanne, lectures, conducts seminars and conquers new heights. She admits that she dreams of creating a large public space - for example, decorating several metro stations. Maybe soon we will hear about how Bethan brought a riot of colors underground!
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