Granting Wishes in the Design World

Posted on September 2, 2014 by Liz

Instigated by Sir Terence Conran and initiated by the American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture, ‘The Wish List – What I have always wanted is…’ has assembled several illustrious architects and designers together with emerging new talents to create a compelling installation, The Wish List, which will be exhibited at the V&A Museum during the London Design Festival this month.

The Wish List: Alex de Rijke ‘Table Turned’, Petr Krejci Photography

The project invited up-and-coming designers and studios to use only American hardwood in the creation of an object commissioned by an established figure in the architecture and design industry. The brief for each was a response from Conran’s friends within the industry to the significant question: “What have you always wanted in your home, but never been able to find?”

The Wish List: Norman Foster ‘tulipifera sharpeners’, Petr Krejci Photography

The Wish List: Allen Jones ‘The Hole Chair’, Petr Krejci Photography

Led by Conran himself, the incredible line-up includes celebrated architects Richard and Ab Rogers, Norman Foster, Amanda Levete, Alison Brooks, Zaha Hadid, Alex de Rijke and John Pawson, not forgetting artist Allen Jones and fashion designer Paul Smith. All have given their answers and the resulting objects have been created with their mentorship and under the watchful eye and guidance of Benchmark’s master craftsmen.

The Wish List: Terence Conran ‘Getting away from it all’, Petr Krejci photography

Sir Terence Conran has commissioned sustainable designer Sebastian Cox to create a workspace for his office. When asked about the brief given to him, Sebastian commented: “It’s going to be a space that Terence can work in without distractions. It’ll be a cocoon-like desk with cabinet space around. A space for undistracted creative thought.”

The Wish List: Zaha Hadid ‘Ves-el’, Petr Krejci Photography

The Wish List: Paul Smith ‘Paul’s Shed’, Petr Krejci Photography

Award winning architect, Zaha Hadid has always wanted tableware made from wood. Upon receiving this brief, Gareth Neal has chosen to play with the form of a carafe or water carrier and turn it into something more sculptural. Meanwhile, designer Sir Paul Smith has requested a shed from bespoke furniture designer, Nathalie de Leval. Not just any shed, ‘My Shed’ – a request befitting of any man. When asked about his brief Paul Smith said, “Really the inspiration behind the design was to create somewhere where you can go to switch off, somewhere to relax. In today’s world where everyone is so busy, I think this is really important and very needed.”

The Wish List: Alison Brooks ‘A stool for the kitchen’, Petr Krejci Photography

The Wish List: Amanda Levete ‘6×500’, Petr Krejci Photography

The architect for the new extension at the V&A, Amanda Levete, has requested a reversible shallow fruit or cheese bowl from student, Win Assakul. Levete explains, “We often have dinners at home for 18 people. Our table is 4.8m long and I have always wanted a long, shallow bowl to run almost the length of the table. But for smaller dinners of say 6 –12 people, I don’t want such a long bowl. By making it extendable we resolve this.” The piece is inspired by African wooden bowls that reveal the beauty and depth of the wood grain as well as the hand of the maker.

The Wish List: John Pawson ‘Room’, Petr Krejci Photography

The open brief has clearly resulted in an extraordinary spread of design objects, also including kitchen stools, a trio of room fittings, a pencil sharpener, chaise longue, dining table and ladder. These can be seen during LDF (13-21 September) at the V&A – WIN will definitely be swinging by to take a closer look!

The Wish List: Richard & Ab Rogers ‘the ladder that likes the wall’, Petr Krejci Photography