Bethan Gray: design storyteller

It was a love of natural materials that led to Welsh furniture and homeware designer, Bethan Gray establishing her acclaimed studio. Since then, Bethan’s work has taken her all over the globe, from the UK to the Middle East. “That’s how we like to work, craft partnerships all over the world,” Bethan shares.

An intermingling of Eastern and Western references, materials and craft has come to define Bethan’s output. Ranging from furniture to homewares, her pieces share a defining elegance that brings attention to their fine composition. Bethan alludes to her appreciation for detail when recalling the results of Italian dyed veneers that brought out the timber’s natural grain: “For me, that’s part of the beauty of it.”

Of course, detail refers to more than simply what the eye can see. When it came to partnering with master craftsman Mohammad Reza Shamsian and his Muscat-based workshop to produce the Shamsian collection, it was the meaning behind the details that told a deeper story. Drawing on her own family heritage and travels, Bethan wove in local references such as sunlight falling across the castellations of the fort at Nizwa to the billowing sails of traditional Omani boats. On the latter, the Dhow family of furniture, Bethan notes: “I just wanted to recreate that sense of movement.”

As a designer with an interest in natural materials, it follows that Bethan would branch out into sustainable natural materials. Partnering with Nature Squared, the collaboration looked at the potential of waste, byproducts of other industries and fast-growing natural materials in high-end applications. The Exploring Eden collection is composed of responsibly-sourced shells and bird feathers, which are treated and transformed into sophisticated objects.

Selected pieces by Bethan Gray are available at Living Edge.

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