Bethan Gray and Sketch collaboration

This September, award-winning British designer Bethan Gray will bring her multi-layered Inky Dhow universe to Sketch, one of London’s most exciting restaurant and bar destinations, renowned for its ever-changing creative collaborations with artists and designers across its many spaces.

For this year’s London Design Festival, visitors stepping over Sketch’s 18th century threshold and into its elegant hallway will be immediately immersed in Bethan’s kaleidoscopic world of signature cobalt blue and white Inky Dhow stripes as they flow across walls, floors, furniture and accessories.

Working in sympathy with the beautiful 18th century arches and vaulted ceiling of Sketch’s magnificent entrance hall – currently an alluring backdrop of deep electric blue, with ceilings twinkling in bronze – Bethan’s Inky Dhow pattern will come vividly to life across pieces translated in a myriad of materials, made in collaboration with her many expert craft partners located across the globe, against backdrops of panels beautifully hand painted panels by Bethan.

These will include the London debut of Bethan’s new armchair and sofas from her new Ripple modular furniture collection, upholstered with leather digitally printed by Bill Amberg, and her Orion Swirl range of handblown glass table lamps and pendant lights, designed and made in partnership with innovative design-led lighting studio Baroncelli.

There will also be cabinets and tables – including a new console-style desk – finished with intricate marquetry by Shamsian and his Oman-based team of artisans who combine 16th century marquetry techniques with cutting-edge technology; rugs woven with CC-Tapis; and Bethan’s hand thrown and painted Seven Sisters vessels made in collaboration with Stoke-on-Trent-based 1882 Ltd.

Tucked into one generous nook of the hallway which leads to The Gallery restaurant, Bethan will create an enveloping space where visitors will be welcome to sit and meditate on the collective wonder of Inky Dhow – there will also be games to play, exclusively designed for Inky Dhow x Sketch, and Inky Dhow cocktails to enjoy.

Bethan’s LDF showcase follows hot on the heels of her successful all-encompassing Inky Dhow installation held at Rossana Orlandi’s eponymous Milanese gallery during Salone del Mobile in June. Inky Dhow – an evolution of Bethan’s original ‘Dhow’ drawing, inspired by the billowing movement of the striped sails on the dhow boats sailing in the Gulf of Oman out to the Arabian Sea – was born during lockdown, when Bethan had the time and creative head space to explore the Dhow pattern on a larger scale.

Those first few months of the pandemic allowed Bethan to reconnect with the physical, meditative art of making, experimenting with calligraphy brushes, pens, pencils and cobalt-hued ink to draw on her love of the sea, shells and the rugged Welsh coastline of her youth to create the more painterly, free flowing lines of Inky Dhow.

The success of Inky Dhow has allowed Bethan to move further into every room of the home, designing pieces which showcase intricate, time-honoured techniques injected not only with a fresh, modern edge but also a sense of free-spirited adventure that comes from Bethan’s own love for exploring new lands and cultures. This chimes perfectly too with the dynamic and daring soul of Sketch’s founder Mourad Mazouz who has created restaurants and bars with a never-ending sense of new worlds, new thoughts and ultimately, great fun.

“I have always been blown away by how Mourad works with lots of different artists and designers, creating spaces that are always changing and evolving, always interesting and quirky. Sketch will be forever inspiringly unexpected and unpredictable, and I am very excited about being part of a space where people come to have a good time with their family and friends, where people come to experience something different and unforgettable,” says Bethan.

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10 November 2022