Urban Picnic by Gareth Neal

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Urban Picnic by Gareth Neal

This weekend designer Gareth Neal will create picnic areas around east London with furniture covered in intricate marquetry.

Urban Picnic by Gareth Neal

Called Urban Picnic, the project includes a picnic bench, ping pong bats, stools and log-shaped benches.

Urban Picnic by Gareth Neal

These items will be installed at Wallis Road on 28 August before moving to Elys Yard for 29 August.

Urban Picnic by Gareth Neal

Photographs are copyright Sophie Mutevelian.

Urban Picnic by Gareth Neal

Here's some more information from organisers Vauxhall Collective:


The Urban Picnic
Vauxhall Collective urban picnics for London announced

28th August - Wallis Road, Hackney Wick
29th August - Elys Yard, Truman Brewery

11am-7pm on both days

Furniture designer Gareth Neal reclaims neglected spaces of the East-End to create pop-up urban picnic sites for Londoners

One of the UK’s largest arts bursary schemes, The Vauxhall Collective, kicks off another year of outstanding art events and exhibitions around this year’s theme; The Great British Weekend. The design commission sees award winning designer Gareth Neal devise a stunning range of playful objects for London’s first urban picnics.

Popping-up in mystery locations in East London, this August, stretches of city tarmac and concrete will be temporarily transformed into grassy spaces inviting Londoners to meet, mix and consume their picnic under the summer sun.

Picnickers will enter an interactive and fantastical space featuring traditional weekend fare with a contemporary craft twist. From ping pong, hula hoops and egg and spoon races, to logs and benches to sit on, the creators intend to bring jaded city dwellers back to their childhood memories of the quintessential British weekend. Objects will be beautifully rendered in birch and veneered with combinations of traditional English Timbers in intricate patterns.

Designer Gareth Neal comments: ‘The East London area was once home to hundreds of traditional furniture manufacturers, so it’s the perfect location for the project. The objects within their locations refer to this lost industry and claim back pieces of land for relaxation, fun and play.’

Selected by a panel of industry experts including representatives from the Design Museum, Crafts Council and London Design Festival’s Tent and Origin, Gareth was chosen for his irreverent and interactive approach to the brief.

Annabelle Campbell, Exhibitions and Collections Manager of the Crafts Council commented: “The Crafts Council is delighted that Gareth Neal has been selected to receive the 2010 Vauxhall Collective bursary. Neal’s approach to making is exciting and radical. He tests the boundaries of craft practice through utilising new technologies as a complement to traditional hand skills. His work is an culmination of contemporary and recognised techniques and the final pieces acknowledge historic furniture forms, styles and decoration with a uncompromisingly contemporary edge; they unveil the ghost of furniture past inside a unquestionably contemporary piece.

His response to the brief; to question and explore notions of The Great British Weekend, mirrors his approach to making. Neal will be presenting a contemporary experience that clearly pays homage to the tradition of the family picnic. But in true Gareth Neal fashion he imbues a breath of fresh contemporary practice and context on this much loved and familiar pastime.”

Gareth Neal’s furniture design practice was established in 2002 and is currently located in the creative heart of East London. Neal specialises in the production of unique pieces, which are exclusively developed for individual clients and companies. His practice combines the technical modes of 3D computer drawing and CNC processes, with the intricacy of professional craftsmanship.

Gareth Neal graduated from Buckinghamshire University in 1996 with a BA Honours in Furniture Design and Craftsmanship. His work has received critical acclaim and has featured in numerous publications and exhibitions, both in the UK and internationally. Neal’s selected exhibitions include Collect at Victoria and Albert Museum, London and The Unexpected at Sotheby’s, New York.

Gareth Neal was selected by a Style Council panel of industry experts including Jimmy MacDonald, Director TENT and CREATE; Catherine McDermott, Professor of Design History and Curating at Kingston University; Annabelle Campbell, Exhibitions and Collections Manager Crafts Council; Josephine Chanter, Head of Comms, Design Museum; and Tamsin O’Hanlon, Director Free Range Art & Design Show.

Gareth Neal is a member of the Vauxhall Collective, an initiative sponsored by Vauxhall Motors

Vauxhall Motors

With an ongoing commitment to championing style and design in the UK, British car marque Vauxhall is a keen supporter of creativity through initiatives such as the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair 2010, the Vauxhall Fashion Scout and the Vauxhall Collective. Latest models include New Astra, a car that shares the same design language as Insignia and that has been built in Ellesmere Port, Liverpool. and New Meriva, with its unique in-class FlexDoors. Vauxhall is reinventing the car as we know it with Ampera, Vauxhall's first electric car. The wheels are turned electronically at all times and speeds and can be plugged into any household 240v outlet for charging.

Vauxhall Collective

The Vauxhall Collective is one of the most ambitious commercially- funded creative support schemes in the UK. Members of the Vauxhall Collective are supported financially to carry out projects, consequently raising their profile in the industry and in the media, and giving them the resources to fulfil their creative potential. In previous years Vauxhall successfully ran the VX Collective based on collaboration between members. Previous members have included Giles Deacon and Christopher Kane.


See also:

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Bavaria by
Studio Job
Plakbanterie by
Johan Bruninx
Simon Hasan for
Vauxhall Collective
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Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 7:51 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • PeeBee

    I really like the direction that Gareth Neal's work is taking. Looking at his early work he is clearly a skilled craftsman and now he is combining strong concepts to create well rounded, charming pieces of work. He deserves every bursary coming his way and I hope to see some major production pieces soon.

  • RLKC

    love the stools.almost like a sort of modern arabic!

  • grig

    The look very good but maybe too much like slapping a gift box top you find in a bazaar on a piece of plywood.
    I think technically this would be called parquetry not marketry since is only geometric and it is done in a technique that is semi-industrial – you cut slices of a big wood salami.
    The ping pong bats are going to be loud . Why would you want that?