Marriage of Materials - a collaborative design workshop, product range, exhibition and conference paper
'Marriage of Materials' was an experimental collaborative project that was funded by Lucite International and directed by myself and Tanya Dean. It challenged a diverse range of practicing and acclaimed artists, designers and makers to explore the language and cultural narrative of objects and materials by hybridizing and composing processes, materials and object forms through collaboration. The project was awarded additional funding from The Crafts Council and REED PLC, which enabled us to disseminate the outcomes at The London Design Festival. The products developed through the project explored new design methodologies and models of object communication and narrative construction – products such as a digital table that tells fortunes, plastics cut to form flawless diamonds, furniture that juxtaposes traditional and cutting edge materials and technologies and products that are manufactured through a kind of live collaborative ‘performance’. The objects formed, explored the relationships that exist between materials, objects and users and how this might be exploited commercially to define more engaging and sustainable ways of presenting, manufacturing and consuming products.
One example of the object manifestations of the research was the 'Skinned Prismex Writing Table' devised by myself and Tanya Dean - which was exhibited as part of the V&A Museums ‘Brilliant’ exhibition.
The project featured in a wide range of international design press, and key aspects of the research featured in my presentation paper for the International Plastics Design Conference in Berlin in 2005 titled 'Plastics Design – The Unlikely Pioneer of Sustainable Product Relationships'. This field of research has promoted further avenues of commercial and design research, which have also been explored further, through a ‘product life workshop’. The project also featured in Design Week, New Design, Elle decoration, FX Magazine and featured as part of the Lucite International website and material and brand publicity.
"Gant and Dean are masters of material manipulation. Having already received international acclaim for its progressive work with Perspex acrylic. They have teamed up with a group of multidisciplinary craft-based creatives in a bid to push the boundaries of materials practice even further. The juxstapostion of old and new is perhaps best seen in best effect in the convertible Skinned Prismex table designed by Gant and Dean. Combining the use of Perspex with a variety of traditional and contemporary materials and techniques has resulted in a selection of fascinating designs."