The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites

Bethan Gray and Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites design products influenced by Islamic patterns

British designer Bethan Gray and Islamic art and craft revivalist Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites have launched the first furniture and tableware collections from their new company The Ruby Tree.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Stripe collection (also main image)

Bethan Gray and Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites set up The Ruby Tree to support artisans who handcraft the furniture and tableware designs in their debut range, which includes two collections.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Stripe collection

The Stripe collection is made up of seven pieces, including coasters, candleholders and an incense burner. Gray has reinterpreted the radiating stripe used on 11th century ceramic vessels commissioned by royal courts throughout the medieval Islamic world, using black marble inlayed with amazonite.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Stripe collection

The Petal Collection comprises 18 pieces including a table, several bowls and a pastry platter, all featuring a radiating geometric petal pattern referencing the dome of the 17th century Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran – a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Petal collection

Each piece is made from marble inlayed with minerals including blue lapis lazuli, rose quartz and ruby.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Petal collection

"I wanted to create something reflecting the beauty, purity and rarity of the materials I am using," said Gray. "Lapis Lazuli is one of the most iconic stones in history, which appears throughout the arts of the Islamic world, even ground into blue ink for illuminating precious manuscripts."

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Petal collection

"I was very keen to work with Abdul Karim and his fantastic caliber of master craftsmen," said Gray. "Their practices uphold ancient tradition and it is important to keep the delicate, highly specialised traditions alive and seek methods of passing these on to the next generation in a way that is relevant to today's design world."

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Petal collection

The entire range has been hand carved in Jaipur, where The Ruby Tree is aiming to create income and rebuild social support for artisans specialising in the traditional Islamic crafts the collection showcases.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Petal collection

"My aim is, and has always been, to find ways to revive these endangered arts and crafts and find a market so that the traditions can be passed on to the next generation," said Abdul Karim.

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Petal collection

Gray added: "The Islamic references will certainly resonate with some people, but it is still great if these references are just taken as beautiful geometric pattern or art. Importantly, I hope that people will respond to the use of these historic and semi-precious materials in a contemporary way."

The Ruby Tree collection at Harrods by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites
Hand-making the Stripe collection

The collection is available exclusively through London department store Harrods.

Photography is by Julian Abrams.