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From Tree-Trunk to Table


10 March 2006

From Tree-Trunk to Table

Tree felling in an art gallery?

It’s not a usual idea, but it is one that will happen this month, thanks to UK designers Alex Rich and Michael Marriott.

The renowned furniture and graphic designers will be in Auckland from March 13 at UNITEC and AUT, and in Wellington from March 25 at Massey. Their visit has been made possible by British Council.

Both are known for their DIY aesthetic, often using found or recycled items. In New Zealand they are taking this to extremes installing a 16.8m radiata pine at St Paul Street Gallery, and developing works from this piece.

Michael Marriott says “It’s our first visit to New Zealand and we fell quickly to the World Wide Web and discovered that logging is one of the three biggest industries”.

“We’re interested in the connection between industry and design and in reaching out to a wider audience than just furniture and graphic designers, so this is a perfect theme for us”.

Designers’ talks, and public sessions in both Auckland and Wellington, will give an insight into Marriott and Rich’s creative process. Public exhibitions are also scheduled at St Paul Street Gallery, Auckland, and at Massey University, Wellington.

In both centres, students and the wider design community will get the chance to interact with the two designers, both of whom are also accomplished teachers. Heather Galbraith, Senior Curator, City Gallery, Wellington, originated this exhibition idea. She says “These two are generous collaborators and inspirational individual practitioners while still sharing a real modesty about what they do”.

Anna Cameron, Arts and Creative Industries Manager at British Council says “I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when these two hit town. This project is kooky and I’ve had a lot of fun dealing with Michael and Alex – they are very exciting designers who will bring new perspectives on a rich and diverse New Zealand design scene”.

Confirmed Dates
13-23 March, Residency, School of Design, UNITEC, Auckland
23 March, 5.30pm Exhibition opens at St Paul Street Gallery, AUT, Auckland. Public Event.
24 March, 12pm Designers Talk at St Paul Street Gallery, AUT, Auckland
26 March, 2pm, Public Talk, City Gallery, Wellington
27-31 March, Residency coordinated by Litmus, Massey University, Wellington
31 March, Public Event, Massey University Wellington



British Council
British Council is the UK’s cultural relations agency. In New Zealand our aim is to connect aspirational young people with the best of the contemporary UK.

Michael Marriott
After studies at the Royal College of Art, London, Michael has forged a reputation as a furniture designer, winning the £15,000 Jerwood Furniture Prize in 1999. His works often use inexpensive or reclaimed objects, to make functional furniture solutions. He is also currently a tutor on the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art.

Alex Rich
Welsh born, and Tokyo based, Alex graduated from the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, London in 1997. He has conducted workshops around the world, and, along with Michael was part of the acclaimed Stealing Beauty exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

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