Ex-Habitat head of furniture design Bethan Gray has been upping her game ever since she left in 2008 to set up her own studio. Following on from Noah, her bestselling 2011 timber furniture collaboration with John Lewis, last year Gray launched her own label in conjunction with furniture developer Thomas Turner. G&T is a boutique collection of leather, marble and wooden tables (leather and oak Brogue side table, £1,200, in first picture) influenced by Grey’s Welsh upbringing and her family heritage (one grandfather was a forester, and a great-grandmother was a 19th-century cabinetmaker). The emphasis is on understated luxury, craftsmanship, solid materials, attention to detail and longevity. More designs are due later this year.
In the meantime, however, there’s a new selling exhibition, and her first solo exhibition in the UK, launching at Great Western Studios in west London on Friday April 26. Proving she is becoming a major British design name to contend with, it charts the clear progression of her work from 1998, when she won a New Designers Habitat graduate award, via pieces from the Noah collection, to her G&T tables (from £895 to £1,395, also available to order in bespoke finishes as desired). The show, curated by the Design Museum in conjunction with MA Curating Contemporary Design students from Kingston University, culminates in the debut of a new ongoing collaboration with London/Harrogate-based Lapicida, the natural stone specialist.
One of her first two pieces for the company (from £15,000) is a solid marble version of the Brogue table (third picture). Decorated with a brogue-style punctuated trim, it makes direct reference to her timber and leather-stitched-edge side and coffee tables of the same name under the G&T collection. The other is a stunning chevron-patterned stone dining table (second picture) made from interlayered black (Spanish) and white (Italian) marble, set with resin: an established technique for working with marble, but a first in furniture for this company that manufactures in North Yorkshire.