Design Miami/ 2018 HYPERNATURE BY BETHAN LAURA WOOD
The story of HyperNature began with an encounter and an alignment of visions: ‘Maison Perrier-Jouët commissioned Bethan Laura Wood because she embodies the extravagance of Art Nouveau, a movement that forms part of the Maison’s cultural heritage, but also for her capacity to develop a multidisciplinary artistic practice while maintaining her own signature style. Within her work, largely inspired by nature, Wood demonstrates an ability to convey meaning through her unique use of colour and form.
Wood has designed a tree for the Maison named HyperNature, whose extravagant curves, petals and colours were inspired by a journey to Champagne several months ago. While visiting the Maison Belle Epoque, the family home of Maison Perrier-Jouët in Epernay, the designer was immersed in Art Nouveau. Her palette of references was enriched by the floral universe of the artistic movement present in every detail of the house, like the arched, wooden doorframe designed by Hector Guimard, the tones of the stained-glass windows and the emblematic anemone motif designed by Emile Gallé for the Maison in 1902.
The context of the industrial revolution that was occurring simultaneously to the Art Nouveau movement drove Wood to use industrial materials but place them in the context of the world of luxury, treating them with an artisanal level of care and respect. A notable feature of her work is broadening perspectives of materials with negative connotations by proposing alternative uses for them. To realise her creative vision in a range of mediums, it is important for Wood to collaborate with specialised artisans: for HyperNature, the PVC petals were hand-dyed with fellow designer Fabien Cappello in Wood’s London studio, and the aluminium branches were produced and anodised by innovators Neal Feay in the US.
Free in form, intense in colour and radiant by its presence, HyperNature is the purest expression of the Art of the Wild, but, first and foremost, it provokes an emotional reaction. Beyond the tangible design, HyperNature is a whimsical champagne experience; a new tasting ritual that immerses you into the Art of the Wild. ‘I wanted to highlight the luxurious, memorable occasions on which we drink champagne by enhancing an element of fantasy within the tasting ritual. I also looked for a balance between the striking visual impact of the tree and the delicacy of the champagne tasting ritual’, explains Wood.
The designer also spent time with Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps, the guardian of the complex, floral signature of Maison Perrier-Jouët’s champagnes. Together, they explored the exceptional vineyards of the Maison that inspired Wood to draw a parallel within HyperNature with the meticulous work necessary to turn grapes into champagne.
HyperNature mirrors the action of the harvest by allowing elements – a single glass of champagne or an entire branch with multiple glasses – to be ‘plucked’ from the structure, as one would a grape from a bunch or a bunch from a vine. At the root of this tasting ritual, Wood references the terroir and the savoir-faire of Maison Perrier-Jouët.