Felix Conran on Tools & Desire

For our first issue we asked the young designer Felix Conran to name an object of desire – he chose

Tools, wonders that speak the languages of stone, wood, cotton, glass, metal and many others, that allow our flesh and bones to summon fruits we have only theorised. Take a stone-chisel: it is brutal, heavy – suitable for bludgeoning a man. Yet, in the right hands, with the right mentality, it can summon the organic curves of a Henry Moore or the delicate features of Michelangelo’s David. It is the space between violence and beauty that design sits: a place, so tiny, where destruction is called creation, where materials are stripped of their raw attributes to become whole. This is only possible from touch, it is the ultimate iteration of touch – the hand that moves nature toward beauty, and toward money too.

I’ve a rather warm feeling toward stone carving too, as my partner has recently begun carving marble. To see her, dummy mallet (a round mallet) in one hand and chisel (sharp) in the other is a rather wonderful sight: a slight young woman, dressed in muted colours and long skirts from Prada or Margaret Howell, really going at it – concentrating supremely. As its such a loud business, she’s self-exiled her stone labour to the garden, and I sometimes watch her, in an acre of green grass, a faintly ridiculous, but more beautiful because, island. Better yet, she wears an Asian conical hat to keep the sun out of her eyes and large black sunglasses, all speckled with dust. Here, she really does sit in the space between violence and beauty.

– Jago Rackham

Read Felix’s article in issue 1: subscribe and support our Kickstarter here.