In today’s digital world, it’s no surprise there is currently a revival of making things by hand using traditional crafts. Wood-turning – the craft of using a wood lathe with hand-held tools – can be traced back many thousands of years . It is highly skilled work and hugely rewarding.

Just ask Hugh Chipperfield, a British woodturner based in Bishops Stortford, who has been wood-turning for 45 years, continuing a family tradition that goes back three generations. From custom-made guitars to intricately crafted furniture, Chipperfield produces simple, beautiful and practical pieces which showcase the unique character of the timber.

Most recently, he spent three weeks hand-making 135 drumsticks from maple wood, for a show-stopping, musically-inspired lighting installation designed by Nulty Bespoke. The lighting feature sits above the curved reception desks of the new Hard Rock Hotel in Marble Arch, London.

The project concept began with Nulty Bespoke’s idea of highlighting the humble drumstick which then developed into the construction and installation of the lighting installation. The Nulty Bespoke team decided to hang 135 fibre-optic cables from the ceiling and fix 600mm-long, handmade ‘drumsticks’ to the end of each fibre. The drumsticks appear to have light emanating from their tip, suggesting the idea that music is escaping from the drumstick itself.

Each of the cables is hung at different lengths (1m at the longest), giving the overall impression that the installation represents a large sound wave. The sticks were constructed in halves, a hole was drilled all the way through them, and then they were meticulously and seamlessly joined together and turned on a lathe, enabling the fibre optics to be inserted on site.

“Marrying our design concept with Hugh’s artisan wood turning skills was incredibly exciting” explains Céline Gehamy of Nulty Bespoke. “We achieved a successful prototype and a final piece by challenging and learning from each other throughout the process.”




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