Bethan Laura Wood at Toronto’s Interior Design Show
By Rose Marie Bresolin
Recognized for her unique designs, award winning British designer Bethan Laura Wood whose exhibits were in the Milan design show in 2018, studied Three-Dimensional Design at the University of Brighton, graduating with honors in 2006. She continued on to the Royal College of Art, where she studied Product Design under Jürgen Bey and Martino Gamper, graduating with a master’s degree in 2009.
As I sipped on a glass of wine in the Media Hospitality Suite on opening night of Toronto’s Interior Design Show (IDS), the striking image of Bethan Laura Wood stirred my attention enough to have me walk across the room to introduce myself:
Rose Marie Bresolin: I’m now speaking with Bethan and I’m going to let her tell you what it was that made me gravitate towards her, in a room packed with other people also looking well designed by fashion.
Bethan: Well, hello to Spencer readers. I am a multi-discipline designer and I’ve just been invited to talk about my work. In my practice, I tend to like a lot of colour and pattern, so that’s why you were noticing me from across the room.
Rose Marie: Yes, precisely. Now tell us something about the work you do.
Bethan: I really enjoy exploring the relationships we make with objects in our everyday lives, and to question how they can become cultural conduits. I am interested in critical approaches to achieving sustainability in a mass consumption, production-driven context.
Rose Marie: What set you on the path of creating designs that are very different from the models that would have been in place at the time you studied.
Bethan: I guess I’m really curious; I’ve always tended to look at simple things from a different angle to see what else they might have to say, and I have great respect for our environment. And, it seemed that from there, everything else just fell into place. I felt lucky to have met Pietro Viero in a residency programme for New Artisans in Vicenza, Italy, where we worked with their local artisans. I designed my first collection of chandeliers with him for Nilufar gallery in Milano. I try and collaborate with him at least once a year – it’s such a joy to meet people who have strong passions about a material or technique and to share in that.
Rose Marie: You mentioned work commissioned by Tory Burch, and I imagine there were others captivated by your startling designs.
Bethan: Yes, and for that I am truly grateful. Hermès requested displays for its U.K. store windows, and I filled them with extra-large fruit in 2014. The next year, when Tory Burch commissioned works in the spirit of Dodie Thayer’s iconic lettuce ware, I designed sculptures that looked like oversized canapés. And when the accessories brand Valextra asked me for a line of handbags, I came up with the bags with squiggly handles and clasps that look squeezed from a toothpaste tube. My latest collaboration has been with Perrier Jouet for HyperNature, a full-size Tree that travels around the world for their different events.
Rose Marie: And where does Bethan Laura Wood call home?
Bethan: I presently live and work in London but I continue to do a lot of work with the Nilufar Gallery in Milano.
For those of you who made it to hear her talk at the Interior Design Show Toronto this year, I’m convinced you would agree it’s mixed discipline on a large scale. Inspired by everything the 1970s architecture and Otomi fabrics of Southern Mexico to her ‘bonkers’ flea-market finds, you can ‘find’ more of her work on the website below.