Renowned design duo, Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey, are a sought-after creative consultancy and design partnership that has found international success due to their distinctive aesthetic and eye for the extraordinary. The pair that form the London-based studio, Campbell-Rey, have recently collaborated with Collier Webb’s Bespoke Design Team to create a set of surrealist garden tools after a conversation between Duncan Campbell and Creative Director of Los Angeles’s Flamingo Estate, Richard Christiansen.
Inspired by a shared botanical ambition, Christiansen suggested that Campbell Rey embark on making a gardening tool set as romantic and whimsical as that of their homeware and interior design endeavours, so they approached our team to help make this a reality. In a nod to the surrealist creations of Salvador Dali and Else Schiaparelli and many more who believed in infusing theatre into everyday objects, the vision was to incorporate elements of the seven-acre haven that is Flamingo Estate. With over 150 species found across the sprawling gardens, a number of these can be found detailing the tool’s surface.
Our expert in-house Pattern Maker, Adam Pattison, worked meticulously to sculpt fork tines with a resemblance to succulent aloe vera leaves, while adorning the curved handle of the banana leaf-shaped trowel with the unfolding petals of a nightshade plant.
The process of this unique project began with our talented Designers who specialise in the concept development of bespoke products. The design process was incredibly creative from the offset as the client was looking for a completely biophilic form that incorporated an artistic appeal. Due to the organic structure of the Gardening Tools, our Designers took an entirely hand-sketched approach to accurately convey the intricate detailing, as opposed to our more standard CAD drawings, in order to achieve the realistic result desired.
The initial idea was discussed at length and perfected in collaboration with the client, before being passed through to Pattern Making to be brought to life through clay sculpting. Pattern Making is a vital stage in the casting process, especially when it comes to Bespoke creations. In the absence of an original object to be copied, a new solid pattern is needed to make the product mould.
Once the final Patterns were agreed upon, they were ready for Lost Wax Casting. This casting technique is used to create the highest-quality metal castings. Widely acknowledged as the best process for fine detailing, a hot wax injector is used during the lost wax process to inject wax into the silicone moulds. The wax fills the mould creating a hollow pattern, which is then fixed onto a wax ‘tree’. The hollow wax patterns are essential for the next part of the casting process; Investment.
The trees are placed in a heat-resistant flask and filled with Investment before being placed into the kiln, where the wax model is melted and drained away leaving a negative space with a perfect reproduction of the shape and surface detailing.
The investment flask is removed from the kiln and allowed to cool, before being taken to the Foundry, where the negative space is filled with molten brass which forms the shape of the bespoke product. Once cooled, the investment is blasted off with water leaving the raw brass object.
The final stop in this creation process was our Polishing department. A beautifully smooth and reflective surface is essential to perfecting the mystical elegance of the floriculture-inspired tools, therefore a combination of techniques are used to achieve this.
“It was a delight to collaborate with the creative minds of Campbell-Rey to bring such an original, detailed design to life by drawing on the inspiration from Flamingo Estate. Seeing the tools evolve and develop different forms and textures really was incredible to follow.”
- Nare Manuelyan, Designer
Seen here cast in silicone bronze and finished in polished silicone bronze, the Flamingo Estate X Campbell-Rey Gardening Tools measure 12.75” long and the set is available to purchase exclusively on the Flamingo Estate website.
Have a project in mind and would like to discuss bespoke opportunities? Find out more here.