Thursday, 20 September 2018

Furniture that stays true to the forest

See the wood and the trees at an exhibition by Henley artist and craftsman Philip Koomen at the River &

See the wood and the trees at an exhibition by Henley artist and craftsman Philip Koomen at the River & Rowing Museum.

Philip has worked in the town for four decades and Forest to Furniture examines the relationship between foresty, design and craftsmanship in wood and the creative process.

Visitors will feel like taking an axe to their dull, conventional, four-square coffee tables and dining furniture after viewing some of the stunning and functional pieces. Philip is recognised as one of the best in the business and was recognised for “excellence in design“ by the Queen.

The exhibition will feature a wide range of commissions, including ecclesiastical work from Dorchester Abbey and exquisite Egyptian-style cabinets.

The display will trace the evolution of Philip’s work, including his semi-bespoke range from the Nineties - notably the iconic Pondlife bench - and the development of a local cycle system to source under-utilised timber from local woodlands.



A highlight and one of Philip’s most recent pieces, the OneOak table made from a 222-year-old oak from Blenheim Palace, will be housed in the museum alongside other award-winning designs.

Philip has developed a range of interactive adult and children’s activities with Oxfordshire-based woodland charity, Sylva Foundation. An activity morning at the museum, The OneOak Project; following the full life of one oak tree, will be held on Saturday, March 21 to demonstrate the link between forest and woodland objects.

Philip Koomen: Forest to Furniture is at the Mill Meadows museum from Saturday, February 14 to Sunday, June 7. Admission is £9.50 plus concessions and tickets give free admission for the year.

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