Bethan Gray is one of the real unsung heroes of British furniture design. When she graduated in the late 1990s she was soon snapped up by Habitat where she spent nearly a decade creating some of the company’s most popular ranges. She eventually became its head of furniture design.
A couple of years ago Gray set up her own studio and has since designed independently for companies such as Case and the Conran Shop. Her designs have sold well and won awards. But still, she hasn’t yet become a ‘name’ in the same way that some of her contemporaries have.
That may be because Gray’s work isn’t about bells-and-whistles and ‘wow’. Rather, they are handsome pieces with subtle, clever details. Their simple elegance speaks of longevity rather than screaming of fashionability.
My hope (and expectation) is that this autumn Gray’s profile will rise dramatically. Later this month her debut collection for John Lewis launches. At John Lewis’s Autumn/Winter press day the other week, I had an opportunity to inspect the collection up close, and I must say it’s excellent.
Called Noah, it features an oak dining table and chair, a coffee table with built-in storage and two sideboards. The clean lines and uncluttered silhouettes will appeal to those with an eye for contemporary style, while the use of oak and detailing that shows off the craftsmanship at work will also find fans with those with more traditional tastes.
It’s time this designer got the recognition that she’s due.
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David Nicholls Design Editor Telegraph Magazine
View all posts by David Nicholls Design Editor Telegraph Magazine