Financial Times : Only Collect : a craft fair infused with a sense of place and identity

Malaika Byng, Financial Times, March 3, 2023

As you gaze at your reflection in one of French furniture maker Anton Laborde’s marquetry mirrors, you find yourself surrounded by a tropical jungle. Palm fronds appear to dance in the breeze on its wooden frame and the blue ocean stretches out to your left.

Laborde’s sculptural furniture and wall panels — on show at London’s Collect fair, March 3-5 — draw on the landscapes of a childhood spent in Auroville, India, and other palm-fringed environments such as the Egyptian coast, rendered in woods including Indian amaranth, African padauk and European pear trees.

With names such as Rivages d’Egypte, and Incredible India, each piece is designed to replicate the feeling of a region through its materials, albeit with a European spin. Such windows into places and cultures abound at Collect, the Craft Council’s annual fair featuring the work of more than 400 international makers.

“Craft is often deeply connected to a specific place — influenced by regional materials and making traditions,” says fair director Isobel Dennis. A walk around the fair at Somerset House will transport you across continents.

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