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Beautifully brutalist: The Hepworth Wakefield announces a new collaboration with Plaey

21 May 2023

To celebrate The Hepworth Wakefield’s 12th birthday, we've revisited our retail collaboration with Plaey – designer Matt Kelly – to launch two new additions in the popular Hepworth Block Vase range.

Inspired by The Hepworth Wakefield’s art, architecture and garden, Plaey‘s Hepworth Block Vases perfectly balance Brutalism and nature. The design of the first vase in the range took cues from Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture, echoing the shapes and forms in many of her works, and David Chipperfield’s building which rises from the River Calder.

The three vases in the range reflect Plaey’s ‘simple, playful, modular’ ethos and can be stacked on top of each other in totemic configurations reminiscent of Hepworth’s The Family of Man sculptures, which are on permanent display on the riverbank outside the gallery. The new vases also take more of a direct influence from The Hepworth Wakefield Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith.

The vases are handmade by Matt in his workshop at Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Made from jesmonite, a lightweight alternative to heavyweight cast concrete and traditional stone, each vase holds a single stem or small bunches of flowers or plants. The pigmented jesmonite – in shades of green, grey and pink – is lightly sealed; any water will darken and then dry out over time, developing a beautiful patina similar to when rain falls on The Hepworth Wakefield’s pigmented concrete exterior.

Rebecca Eelbeck, The Hepworth Wakefield’s Retail Manager, who commissioned the product, said:

‘I am excited to have developed our product range with Plaey building on the success of the original collaboration. The Plaey Block Vase has been one of our best sellers, resonating with design lovers who visit the gallery. I look forward to visitors discovering the new products in the range and finding innovative, Hepworth-inspired ways to display the vases in their own homes.’

Matt Kelly, Plaey, said:

‘The idea of these vases is to take a little piece of Hepworth home with you after your visit – something brutally beautiful. A functional sculpture for the home.’

Each vase in the range retails at £24 with 10% off for Members. The Hepworth Wakefield’s shop is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm or online here.

The Hepworth Wakefield is a charity and sales support the gallery’s mission to create experiences that inspire, captivate, surprise and enhance everyone’s lives.

Plaey – West Yorkshire-based designer Matt Kelly – design and make modern, affordable modular furniture that combines form, function and a sense of fun. Plaey appeals to people who share a passion for great design and a belief that furniture can be an extension of their personality. Formed in 2016, Plaey’s clients include Tate, The Hepworth Wakefield, National Trust, Studio.Build, Colours May Vary and Hot Chip. plaey.co.uk

Matt Kelly, Plaey

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