Thu, May 5, 2016

Art & Auctions
Islamic-inspired treasure chest unveiled

British furniture and interiors specialist Linley has unveiled an Islamic inspired treasure chest at the London Craft Week, which is currently under way in the UK capital.

The Girih Treasure Chest explores Islamic pattern through detailed wooden marquetry in brilliant sapphire blue and rich gold tones. 

Girih is an Islamic decorative art form consisting of geometric lines that create an interlaced framework. As if a precious stone in a delicate claw setting, the chest perches on a simple sycamore frame which is supported by a forged brass metal stretcher.

As the centre of the design lies an eight-pointed star, taken from a beautiful mosaic tile pattern that caught the eye of Linley Founder and Chairman David Linley during a visit to Doha, Qatar last year.

Adorning all façades of the chest, the pattern is created using a specially dyed deep blue ripple sycamore, sycamore and satinwood, which gradually turns from gold to grey to blue in a quasi-crystalline pattern, breaking up as it transitions from the base to the top of the chest. 

Finished in elegant high gloss, the design is elevated by the choice of materials – while the undulating grain in the ripple sycamore veneer adds opulence and depth to the pattern, the natural sycamore frame will gradually transform into a beautiful golden hue when exposed to sunlight, gaining richness and character over time.

The inside of the chest is softer but no less striking, using elegant gold and white gold leaf to replicate the exterior geometric pattern. Designed to hold jewellery and precious objects, the interior is split into compartments and drawers featuring hand-cut dovetails and finished with bronze metal handles inlaid with precious stones. 

Typical in a Linley masterpiece, there is more than meets the eye: the key for the locked central chamber can be found in a special compartment concealed within the cabinetry, and once the door is open, mirrored glass surfaces give the appearance of infinite distance. The mirrors also hide a second secret compartment, the ultimate deception and demonstration of the master craftsman’s hand.

Linley has also created a collection of boxes, rugs, scented candles and key-rings which carry the Girih pattern.

Also on show is the Doha Skyline Humidor, which depicts a wind tower, a traditional solution for natural air-conditioning in Middle Eastern architecture, alongside the modern structure of the Museum of Islamic Art.

Throughout London Craft Week there will also be an exhibition of Michael Eden’s 3D printed sculptures and David Degreef-Mounier at work in Linley’s flagship Belgravia showroom.

On Saturday May 7, Linley will take part is in ‘Window with a View’, a day of live displays that demonstrate the craftsmanship behind the famous art, design and antiques specialists of Pimlico Road in Belgravia. 

At Linley, artist David Degreef-Mounier will be joined by a marquetry craftsman who will recreate the pattern of the treasure chest, and Tom Bree, tutor at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, who will demonstrate the precise art of traditional geometric patterns.

The London Craft Week runs until May 7.

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