Standing like dark religious sentinels within the exuberant marble and mosaic Byzantine architecture of The Fitzrovia Chapel, ‘Scorched’ is one of the highlights of this year’s London Craft Week. The Chapel, designed by John Loughborough Pearson and his son Frank, and originally at the heart of Middlesex Hospital, is itself a hidden gem within this part of London, with its relatively plain exterior giving little hint of the wonderful interior inside, this week filled with a fascinating exhibition of scorched wood designs by leading contemporary artists and designers, including Gareth Neal, Nic Webb, Wycliffe Stutchbury, Alison Crowther and Eleanor Lakelin, who are also giving talks on their work.
As you enter the door, you first see the ‘Phoenix Chair’ by John Makepeace, the great British contemporary furniture designer, the lightest in colour of all the pieces on show, with just a hint of scorched wood on its feet, and appropriately placed on the axis with the connection from the Chapel to the new building beyond the inner door and window. Astonishingly, given the design looks so fresh and new, it is in fact over 30 years old, whereas everything else on show is from 2019.
Then ahead, leading up to the altar are the dark hand-crafted designs and pieces of furniture, the scorching gold the wood a different texture to that when new.
Curated by Sarah Myerscough, the objects are a western interpretation of the Japanese technique of Shou-Sugi-Ban and fit perfectly within the contrasting craftsmanship throughout the Chapel, showing how contemporary art and historic architecture can work in a perfect partnership.