To coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, Design Hunter is this week focusing on gardens and outdoor living. Today I'm excited to be featuring a behind-the-scenes guest post from lighting and furniture maker Tom Raffield who has designed a specially commissioned feature bench for the Royal Bank of Canada show garden at RHS Chelsea this year.
Using a specialised steam bending process Tom created the 8m long piece at the request of the garden's designer, Matthew Wilson of Clifton Nurseries.
"The concept for the garden was inspired by the flow of water," said Matthew. "The various components of the garden weave in and out and I wanted the garden furniture to extend that theme. It was also important to me to use the skills of a crafts person employing traditional techniques and using sustainable materials, in keeping with the theme of the garden. Tom's work is in keeping with all of these ideals, and is a celebration of the wonderfully tactile qualities of wood. Because his design is quite open in structure the plants behind are visible, creating a wonderfully colourful backdrop to the flowing lines of the garden."
The complex sculptural form, made from sustainably sourced olive ash wood, is designed to mimic the flow of water. Here is Tom's account of the design process.