Private Edition 47 Sotheby's

Page 54


The Stonemason ROSS ROBERTSON FURNITURE DE SIGNE R OLIVE R WHYTE STUDIO ‘I REMEMBER VISITING the first Southern Guild exhibition at the V&A Waterfront, being completely blown away by it and thinking this is what I want to do forever,’ says Oliver Whyte Studio founder Ross Robertson (the studio takes his middle names). It’s fair to say that everything design-related in Robertson’s past (he has an architecture degree and spent 11 years designing residential buildings) led him to the moment in late 2019 when he launched his CORE furniture collection and was able to add ‘furniture designer’ to his credentials. Given Robertson’s career to date, the collection, perhaps expectedly architectural and masculine and comprising three occasional tables and two coffee tables, celebrates core-drilled concrete, historically a by-product on construction sites. In keeping with contemporary design thinking around a move towards circular economies, the multidisciplinary designer finds value in turning one man’s waste into another’s collectible. ‘Something that is unique is becoming increasingly valued over that which we perceive to look expensive, and challenges the status quo of what luxury means,’ Robertson says. There are a few poetic pieces in the collection’s brutalist array. For example, Collar, an occasional table, is an undeniable ode to the tactile pleasures of concrete and its terrazzo-like surface. Its sensitivity of form and harmonious combination of materials epitomise Robertson’s desire ‘to create a visual language of opposites, heavy and light, raw and refined’.