Last year Roger Nathan created a series of contemporary side-tables crafted from wood in delicious thought-provoking designs. He is now working on a collection of coffee tables. So far two have been made; one based on a "trapped" spiral and the other on the random close packing of ellipses.
. The beautiful smooth shapes, ovals, curves and spirals of the sleek marquetry are derived from simple mathematical functions – converting Fibonacci’s sequence and chaos theory into something to treasure.
“I grew up in a household of art-loving and creative family members and my interests were in puzzles and patterns, Islamic geometry books and folding a sheet of paper to produce novel tessellations.”
A New Zealander, Roger spent a number of years as a researcher at Oxford University, working in a range of disciplines from archaeological science, psychiatry and radiotherapy. “During my research, I continually came across amazing designs from nature,” he explains, “and I wanted these to become part of the material culture,” he continues. “My last position involved a component of precision engineering work and so I bought a mini-lathe and mill for the back shed to teach myself more about how things were made. The first objects I produced were 3d puzzles and Sterling engines: I really loved it – the design stage in particular - and decided to pursue a career in making.”
“I usually start with an interesting mathematical geometry or periodic function and look at what happens when repeating shapes are ordered or where a pattern emerges in a dynamic system. The key to my designs is using that pattern in a harmonious and interesting way within the limitations of working with wood, and I am very much inspired by Escher, for example.”
Roger has both a series of circular side tables on which to take tea and, new for Artweeks, rectangular coffee tables one boasting a ‘trapped’ spiral; and one based on the random close packing of ellipses (using an algorithm that was developed during his previous archaeological research into the dating of sedimentary sands).
Alice and the Mad Hatter would surely have loved them.
2019: London Design Fair; Made London
2020: All exhibitions cancelled due to coronavirus.
Originally from New Zealand, I have lived in Oxford for over 20 years. I was a student and researcher at the University of Oxford in fields ranging from archaeological science to the medical sciences. Several years ago, I started messing around in the back shed with a small metal lathe and mill. I loved it and continued designing and making. More recently, I have used my passion for mathematical pattern to create a range of furniture using: solid walnut; various wood veneers in walnut, sycamore and lancewood; and machined stainless steel. All the wood is sustainably harvested and all parts (except a few screws!) are made in my workshop (Witney). Visitors most welcome when safe.
98 Kingston Rd
Oxford OX2 6RL