For one week in February this year, six world-class furniture designers came together to make and create in the shop window of Heal’s Tottenham Court Road store, as part of The Great Heal’s Bodging Race initiative. Now you can see the results at Designersblock in Milan (14-19 April 2015) before the winning design is launched at Heal’s to coincide with London Design Festival 2015.
The bodging project started in 2009 when designer-maker Chris Eckersley, who at the time was researching Windsor-style chairs, went on a greenwood chair-making course (aka ‘bodging’) run by Gudrun Leitz in the ash woods of Herefordshire. Six years on and the project has developed a life of its own. From the original research into traditional craft the emphasis has shifted towards using these old techniques to develop fast-track design prototypes for industrial manufacture.
During Modern Craft Market in February, Heal’s invited Eckersley and the bodgers – including Carl Clerkin, Gareth Neal, Sarah Kay, William Warren and Japan-based Koji Katsuragi – to take part in The Great Heal’s Bodging Race. The event took the form of a race to see who could design and make the best chair in five days. The winner, by popular vote, was Gareth Neal; his winning design is to go into production and will be launched exclusively at Heal’s in September 2015.
The Great Heal’s Bodging Race is at Designersblock Milano, Ex-Ansaldo, Via Tortona 54, 14-19 April 2015 (10am -10pm).