Image credits: Anne Purkiss

Diorite Desk

A bespoke reception desk commissioned by The Crown Estate for 21 Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly.

Working in conjunction with the designers Barr Gazetas, I made this unique reception desk from a single Diorite boulder. Diorite is a type of granite, which I sourced from an aggregate quarry in North Wales where it is normally crushed to make 'black top' that surfaces our roads.

The concept to use a single boulder was poignant for The Crown Estate, particularly as I managed to source the 'right' boulder from one of their quarries. TCE own much of rural, and indeed urban, Britain so to make a signature and functional artwork that welcomes people to their latest development of Regents Street public realm was important to them.

For me, the journey was a joy from beginning to end, fusing my love of geology, quarrying, rock, machinery, logistics, carving skills and urban settings - in an attempt to define the boundaries of the human and the non-human.

"We set Simon a challenging brief - to produce a functional stone reception desk that fused the rawness of the stone's original state and the elegance of artistic ingenuity. The vision we had was to create something that looked as if someone had reached up to the roof of a cave and plucked out a piece of stone and fashioned it into furniture. Simon's work achieved this 100%.

It was a true pleasure to have worked with him from the moment that I awarded him the commission and Simon's passion and enthusiasm has been infectious throughout the project. He was inspired to explore the four corners of the Crown's ownerships to source the right piece of stone for the desk commission, and from the moment that 30 tonne piece of Diorite was discovered in North Wales he carefully held its hand on its journey around the UK, from extraction, to cutting to its final shaping and then delivery to its new home in central London; tending its metamorphosis to a beautiful conclusion.

I am compelled to look through the doorway every time I now walk past the office reception where it now resides. Ancient history and modern expression presented in solid form. Even the receptionist, unprompted, will proudly tell anyone arriving in the building the life story of his new desk."
Tim Webb, Retail Business Development Manager, The Crown Estate

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