Gareth Neal on timber and technology

08.04.20. Internet. Lockdown special

This is the first special ‘lockdown’ edition of Material Matters. As regular listeners will be aware, we usually record our interviews in the studio or workshop of our guest but, because of the virus, this wasn’t able to happen.

So instead this show was done over the internet with the brilliant Gareth Neal. The London-based designer and maker has exhibited pieces across the world and has work in the collections of the V&A and the Crafts Council.

Over the course of our chat, Gareth talks about his latest work in 3D-printed sand; explains why designers should constantly be questioning themselves and their methods; and unpicks his eclectic collaborations with the likes of Orkney chair maker Kevin Gauld and cutting-edge architect, the late, great Zaha Hadid.

However, the real focus of our discussion is his lifelong relationship with timber – he illustrates how the material is both fascinating and frustrating in equal measure – and technology, with the self-confessed ‘gambler’ putting forward a case for why digital manufacturing should be considered a form of craft.

Find out more about Gareth Neal 

Mirrored Pair is Neal’s latest work made from 3D-printed sand. It’s part of the S102 series. 

The Brodgar Collection is a collaboration between The New Craftsman and traditional Orkney chair maker Kevin Gauld. 

The Hack Chair is created using a six axis CNC arm and sets out to disrupt a Georgian archetype. Image: Petr Krejci.

The Anne table is a contemporary take on the Queen Anne Period. It was initially made by hand.