by Zohra KhanOct 01, 2021
“People think I am a performer, and just because I dress up, they think I am taking pictures all the time,” says London-based multidisciplinary designer, Bethan Laura Wood (b.1983) as we discover things the world doesn’t know about her, in this special STIR series titled UNSCRIPTED.
Born in western England in a small British town called Shrewsbury, for young Wood, umpteen hours spent inside her bedroom or over the kitchen cabinet ‘making stuff of all kinds’ – from drawing, painting, or sewing, to creating something from papier mâché or simply trying to put together a thing of beauty from a medley of everyday objects – a creative living was never out of sight. The path became even clearer when she chanced upon a documentary on BBC that telecasted the explorations of different creative studios at the Royal College of Art in London. All along, Wood nourished her passion for colour – using it not only in what she created but also in the way she expressed herself. She studied Three Dimensional Design at the University of Brighton before obtaining an MA in Design Products at the RCA under the tuition of her mentors, Italian designer Martino Gamper and Dutch designer Jurgen Bey.
I tend to have sticky fingers when it comes to objects.
Today living and working in East London, Wood channels her love for colours, layers, and lines to create eclectic products which include furniture, lighting, textiles, and art installations. Fascinated by the connections we make with the everyday objects that surround us, and as a collector herself, she likes to explore what drives people to hold onto one particular object while discarding another. Speaking about how she keeps herself creatively stimulated, Wood shares getting herself lost in flea markets and discovering new places and interacting with them through her own physicality do it for her. In this 17-minute video conversation, she muses, “There is nothing more zen for me than walking through flea markets and just visually experiencing objects and the colourful world that comes from different spaces and environments. I find that very harmonising.” She continues, “The biggest transformation between colour and I that I had was the experience I had going to Mexico because this was the first country I had visited outside Europe. I had really not experienced being in an environment where the core basis of day-to-day palette is totally different compared to the European which tends to be a lot softer, greyer, and more muted. In Mexico, the base colour is hot pink, bright blues, and reds and yellows…That really stuck in my memory because it was this physical introduction to living within an environment that’s built up of different principles to do with colour.”
Since 2011, Wood has worked with the prestigious Nilufar Gallery to showcase her self-directed, limited edition and one-off works, and has been commissioned by and produced named collaborations with a variety of international partners including Dior, Perrier– Jouët, Moroso, Design Miami, Tory Burch, and Tolix Peter Pilotto. Some of her key works include a collection of rugs for CC-Tapis inspired by her walks in East London; Hermes products as the seeds and hearts of myriads fruits and vegetables in a series of hand painted compositions; and a collection of furniture drawn from the design of the boudoir marking 10 years of collaboration with gallery Nilufar.
On UNSCRIPTED, Wood, who lives by the mantra 'distance through detail', also tells us about her picks and pick me nots when it comes to fashion. An admirer for kimonos, scarves, and hoedown pants, we discover her sartorial obsessions and achievements on UNSCRIPTED.
All this and much more! Tap on the cover video to watch the complete episode.
All visuals © Bethan Laura Wood, unless stated otherwise. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.
Curated by PramitiMadhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.