During London Design Festival 2022, GRAS presented The Gathering Hand—the first collection of furniture and objects made in collaboration with leading makers. Three product typologies emerge from tactile and evocative materials through a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques including bespoke joinery, mouth-blown glass and bead-blasted stone. The processes celebrate the artisanal skills of specialist collaborators—Studio Corkinho, Namon Gaston and Edmond Byrne—resulting in a series of sensory yet functional tables, vessels and objects.
The Gathering Hand Details
The Gathering Hand is derived from GRAS’s five decades of passionate, hands-on creation—historically in the fields of conservation, architecture and interiors—and from the firm’s interest in interdisciplinary design. Through The Gathering Hand, GRAS celebrates the innate human drive to make.
The Carpenter's Tables / Bio-varnish applied by hand prior to scorching
The Glassblower's Vessels / Crackled texture
The Carpenter’s Tables
A series of three tables merging scorched cork with beautifully crafted oak. The two materials—siblings of the Quercus plant family—come together in a balanced expression of tactility, nature, durability and tradition. Made together with Studio Corkinho, each cork tabletop is fired prior to pressing to bring out an earthy brown base. The surface then undergoes a heat-treating process, applied by hand, which intensifies the tone and texture. Finally, a matte bio-varnish is applied for protection. The cork’s depth and subtle complexity emerges as light passes across its surface. The oak bases are constructed with housed tenon joints, beautifully executed by Namon Gaston. The oak is smoked for 24 hours before hand-assembly and final oiling.
The Carpenter's Low Table
The Carpenter's Side Table / Detail
The Glassblower’s Vessels
A trio of simple, refined vessels bearing the marks of their making. Each piece is mouth-blown by glass artist Edmond Byrne, then, while still hot, the form is baptized in cold water shocking the mineral with a crackled texture. The glass is then re-heated to set the unique pattern that belies the vessels’ strength. It’s a process that marries chaos and order with beguiling effect. Asymmetry, light-play and textural depth define the vessels’ character while subtly tapered shapes ensure functionality and stability.
The Glassblower's Carafe
The Glassblower's Tumbler
The Stonemason’s Objects
A family of objects expressed in elemental forms—cylinders, disks, hemispherical cuts—as an ode to the simple stone slab. The edges of the Portland stone are delicately softened by the bead-blasting processes and in turn the material’s surface expression is highlighted. A considered shadow gap under the Vase and Bowl elevates the volumes ever so slightly. The continual, hemispherical slice of the Bowl creates a gentle concave cradle for fruit or mementos; its bare surface mingles beautifully with passing light. The paired cylindrical Weights hold a level of ambiguity—their usefulness spanning limitless occasions.
The Stonemason's Bowl
The Stonemason's Vase
The Stonemason's Weights
Quarry slab samples are a fixture of our studio’s material library and we have long appreciated their raw architectural beauty. The Stonemason’s Objects translate the honest characteristics of the stone slabs into pieces for the home to be used as plinths, vases, bowls, weights, bookends, doorstops or decorative accents.
The bead-blasted surfaces highlight the Portland stone’s natural grain and catch the light beautifully, whilst silhouettes are simple and direct.
Alistair Byars, Project Lead
The Gathering Hand at Blue Mountain School
The Gathering Hand at Custom Lane
GRAS debuted The Gathering Hand collection with an exhibition at Blue Mountain School during London Design Festival 2022.
All products are made-to-order. For sales or exhibition enquires please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Four collaborators were selected based on their specific material expertise: local designer Namon Gaston crafted the smoked oak bases of the Carpenter’s Tables, whilst Antwerp-based Studio Corkinho produced the scorched cork tabletops; Cambridge glass artist Edmond Byrne created The Glassblower’s Vessels defined by a beguiling, crackled texture, while the Stonemason’s Objects were produced in Dorset by Albion Stone then bead-blasted by hand in Edinburgh.
- Hand Textured Cork by Studio Corkinho
- Smoked Oak by Namon Gaston
- Crazed Glass by Edmond Byrne
- Bead-blasted Portland Whitbed by Albion Stone
Our intention with the collection was to distil and communicate the value of physical creation: the use of both hand and mind to explore the potential of material and form. This age-old pursuit holds life-affirming benefits that are self-evident to the maker.
Alistair Byars, Project Lead