Max Lamb 'My Grandfather's Tree'




Mon-Wed, Sun 10am–6pm Thu-Sat 10am-9pm

Free Event

The Embankment Galleries - Mezzanine & Studio


The Embankment Gallery at Somerset House was the backdrop to a sizeable installation by British designer Max Lamb, titled My Grandfather’s Tree.

The tree in question is an old ash that had started to rot on the land of the designer’s grandfather’s farm in Yorkshire. To avoid the danger it posed to his nearby cottage, the tree was reluctantly felled. “Together with my tree surgeon friend Jon Turnbull, we dissected the tree from the top downwards, cutting it into sections at regular intervals, which I could transform into finished logs to be used as stools, tables and chairs,” explained Max. “I wanted the tree to remain integral to the wood and to process each section of the tree as little as possible, other than to make the top and base level in order to give function to the material.”

The result is sections of the tree divided into 130 logs laid out in order of diameter, with the 187 annual growth rings clearly visible. With his intention that his grandfather’s tree should survive beyond its rooted life, “the ash tree continues to exist as an ash tree, but with a new life, a new function and the start of a new history.”

Over the past decade, Max Lamb has garnered a reputation for working with his hands to directly manipulate single materials, turning the likes of boulders, logs and even polystyrene into roughly hewn seating objects, tables and the likes. This project is an ambitious extension of his genre, working with an entire tree to dramatic effect.

Gallery FUMI

Gallery FUMI is a contemporary design gallery based in Mayfair, London, established in 2008 by Sam Pratt and Valerio Capo.

The gallery focuses on high-level, conceptually and aesthetically audacious contemporary designers and artists; each one encompassing the value of craftsmanship, traditional techniques and innovated new technologies. Objects are usually hand made by the designer, in a small workshop context, or in small batch production by specialist crafts practitioners. Many use traditional techniques such as carving, glassblowing, cabinetry, lacquering, meticulous hand assemblage. Others would also disassemble, burn or apply digital technologies in their making. There is an emphasis on the satisfyingly tactile as well as the purely visual. Great significance is placed on the emotional as well as the practical value of craft.

The directors have built enduring creative relationships with institutions, interior designers and collectors alike, and have gained a reputation for applying a very personal and original touch in their selection and curation. They run an ambitious programme of exhibitions alongside a presence at international design fairs.

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