Clay Court is a tactile, monumental project by Faye Toogood

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The Clay Court project by Toogood is a tactile, monumental work of art.

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Designed for the grounds of the Qatar National Theatre, this immersive installation features 17 giant, rounded, and rough-hewn forms.

Clay-like cement composite sculptures offer a soft response to the theatre’s angular design.

The theatre courtyard felt incredibly peaceful, but I couldn’t find anywhere to sit and enjoy the space. I wanted to play with the idea of the sculptures being truly interactive – forms you could touch, forms you want to sit on. They needed to feel like clay. So although the sculptures are huge in scale they have an inviting softness in material and shape.”

 Faye Toogood

Clay Court is part of Qatar’s transformative public art program. In addition to Jeff Koons, Olafur Eliasson, and Yayoi Kusama, Faye Toogood is among 39 international artists invited to install works.

The sculptures developed for Clay Court evolved from Faye’s Assemblage 6: Unlearning. 300 playful maquettes made from everyday materials found in the studio, scaled up to life-size works and built from wrought iron and cast bronze.

Clay Court explores the maquette’s passage into the real world of furniture and sculpture. Permanent, public sculpture retaining the immediacy of the original maquettes.

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Photography: Iwan Baan, Genevieve Lutkin and Qatar Creates

The Story Behind Toogood

Toogood is a London-based design studio founded in 2008 by Faye Toogood.

Faye has a BA in Art History from the University of Bristol and was Interiors Editor at The World of Interiors for eight years.

Her practice encompasses interior design, homewares, fine art and fashion, and she refuses to be constrained by a single discipline or defined way of working.

Describing herself as an outsider whose work defies categorisation, Faye has created a studio which allows a movement between genres. Architects, sculptors, furniture makers and illustrators cross-pollinate on every project, producing work that is rigorous, poetic and genuinely avant-garde.

INTERIORS

The practice has executed numerous house interiors for private clients. A Mayfair apartment designed for a pair of American art collectors is filled with commissioned furniture pieces made by craftsmen and artists alongside bespoke designs by Faye Toogood.

The penthouse at Tapestry in King’s Cross is a monumental space with a richly textured finish and a colour palette inspired by scudding skies. For Casa Paloma, a seven-bedroom villa in Ibiza, Toogood oversaw every aspect of the interior to the finest detail, even executing the artwork that hangs on the walls.

FURNITURE AND HOMEWARE

Toogood brings a distinctly sculptural approach to the art of furniture design, with pieces such as the Spade chair and the Roly-Poly chair achieving iconic status through their strong geometry and form.

All of the pieces are handmade by small-scale fabricators and traditional artisans, with an honesty to the irregularity of the chosen material, whether it be raw fibreglass, aluminium or Barium crystal.

Toogood produces made-to-order furniture and homewares, as well as limited-edition gallery pieces which are sold through Friedman Benda in New York.

Faye’s furniture crosses the boundary into fine art and has been exhibited at Phillips and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Triennale in Milan, and D Museum in Seoul.

Her works have been acquired for the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Corning Museum of Glass in New York, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and the Faberge Museum in St Petersburg.

FASHION

The fashion side of the business was co-founded by sisters Faye and Erica Toogood.

They approach their work obliquely, collaborating with architects, product designers and painters to create practical and sculptural clothes.

A celebration of craftsmanship has been at the core of the brand from the outset.

Each piece takes its name, and inspiration and is cut from a traditional trade: the ‘Metalworker’ jacket, the ‘Stonemason’ trouser, and so on.

Toogood’s clothing is instilled with the unmistakable spirit of both sisters: Faye’s preoccupation with materiality and Erica’s audacious shape-making. One a tinker, the other a tailor.

Read more on our curated Art’s and Crafts section here.

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