Bethan Gray (opens in new tab) and Nature Squared (opens in new tab)discovered a shared passion for pushing the boundaries of possibility within natural materials and craft through a chance meeting. Seeing the potential in the skills and techniques of Nature Squared’s artisans, Bethan has worked alongside them to develop the Exploring Eden collection.
Nature Squared was founded to highlight the value of sustainable natural materials that are currently either thrown away, by-products of other industries, or simply fast-growing enough to be entirely self-replenishing.
Exploring Eden, the first collection to come out of this new partnership, brings Bethan’s passion for telling stories with craft and design together with almost two decadesof living and breathing sustainability.
In keeping with Bethan’s love of seashells and feathers, she has chosen pearl, abalone, capiz, pen and scallop shells for this first collection – along with goose and pheasant feathers.
These materials are transformed through master-craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology into furniture and accessories.
'The scallop shells are graphic in themselves. When they are laid flat and infilled with black resin, the natural pink pattern they create is really beautiful,' says Bethan. 'The capiz shell is usually used in circles, but by arranging it in a grid, not only is it a more efficient use of the material, but you get this striking modern pattern made from a side of the shell you don’t usually see.'
The Exploring Eden collection comprises ten key pieces including furniture such as armchairs, tables and shelving, complemented by accessories such as paper weights, bookends and bell jars.
Bethan’s fresh perspective on these materials coupled with her instinct for colour and texture, has resulted in a profusion of ideas.
'The iridescence found in nature is absolutely unique . My colour palette has always been inspired by natural materials, so this is a really exciting opportunity to work with something completely new and yet absolutely aligned with my practice,’ says Bethan.
The exotic but plentiful shells used across the collection are sourced from Filipino fishing communities with on-going conservation projects while the British goose and pheasant feathers come from birds that have been sustainably processed for food. These are examples of Nature Squared’s commitment to traceability throughout the supply chain.
Bethan's work has always been characterised by bold, confident patterns inspired by the shapes she sees in the natural world – the graphic patterns in this collection are not just inspired by, but also created by, natural materials.
When Paul Hoeve and Lay Koon Tan founded Nature Squared in 2001, it was with the purpose of re-imagining sustainable natural materials and transforming them into beautiful surfaces fit for the luxury market using master-craftsmanship and cutting-edge technologies. Their surfaces can be found in 92% of the world’s super yachts – and now through this new collection in stylish homes too.
Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites
A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.
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