The col­lab­o­ra­tion We chat to Bethan Gray as she gets set to launch her new col­lec­tion with An­thro­polo­gie

As she launches her first line of fur­ni­ture for the high-street re­tailer, Gray dis­cusses find­ing in­spi­ra­tion in the UK’S beaches, parks and her son’s col­lec­tion of shells

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News -

Bethan, how do you want peo­ple to feel when they see your de­signs?

I al­ways want them to be com­fort­able, for there to be an el­e­ment of cosi­ness to ev­ery­thing I do. You know what it’s like when peo­ple come to your house – you want them to feel at home, and not like they can’t touch any­thing. That’s the mood I’m al­ways try­ing to achieve.

And what is it about your work that cre­ates such a feel­ing?

I have a colour pal­ette that I tend to stick to – teals and jades, golds and cop­pers, soft greys and even softer pinks. It’s all very har­mo­nious, tak­ing its lead from shades that ex­ist in na­ture, such as stones and woods – the things you would see when you’re tak­ing a walk in the park. Is na­ture a big in­flu­ence for you? It re­ally is. I have a four-year-old son who loves be­ing out­side and is a real hoarder. He col­lects shells, peb­bles, what­ever he can find. The feather shapes seen in the de­sign of the chairs and cab­i­nets in my new range for An­thro­polo­gie were in­spired by him. I’m also in­flu­enced by the Bri­tish craft move­ment, and en­joy us­ing tra­di­tional tech­niques to tell cul­tural sto­ries. An­thro­polo­gie is an Amer­i­can brand, founded in Wayne, Penn­syl­va­nia, so I started by re­search­ing indige­nous Amer­i­can cul­tures and was drawn to the an­cient pat­terns and mo­tifs cre­ated by Ances­tral and Acoma Pue­bloans. They are so bold and graphic – I thought they were beau­ti­ful, and I knew that a mod­ern rein­ter­pre­ta­tion would be just per­fect. How con­nected are you to craft in the UK? I’ve just been made a fel­low of Cardiff Metropoli­tan Univer­sity and it was such a huge hon­our, espe­cially see­ing as it’s in my home city. They re­ally nur­ture crafts­man­ship there and I’ve been see­ing a re­vival of cer­tain skills around ce­ram­ics and tex­tiles com­ing out of their un­der­grad­u­ate cour­ses.

And what do you make of the Bri­tish de­sign scene as a whole right now?

It’s such a sup­port­ive and nur­tur­ing in­dus­try, and I feel so lucky to have been helped by so many peo­ple over the years. My days work­ing for Habi­tat were great – I was one of a whole tribe of tal­ented de­sign­ers, so many of whom have gone on to do amaz­ing things. There is def­i­nitely a Bri­tish­ness to my work – the ‘Stud’ ta­ble in my first col­lec­tion was in­spired by Welsh cricket ta­bles – but what’s great about Lon­don is how mul­ti­cul­tural it is. I’ve al­ways been open to meet­ing peo­ple from other cul­tures – be­ing a Welsh speaker means you’re used to smaller com­mu­ni­ties – and that melt­ing-pot el­e­ment to the UK is what makes Bri­tish de­sign so fresh and ex­cit­ing. bethangray.com Turn the page to see more of the col­lec­tion

‘Feather’ rug, from £598, An­thro­polo­gie (an­thro­polo­gie.com) Above Bethan Gray sits on the ‘Feather’ chair, £698, An­thro­polo­gie (an­thro­polo­gie.com)

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