'Urban Picnic' Bench (2016.7)

Catalogue Record




'Urban Picnic' Bench

Made in





Picnic table with attached bench seating on either side, made from beech plywood and veneered with traditional stringing lines to create an intricate repeating pattern across all surfaces.

Materials and techniques

Birch plywood veneered with traditional stringing lines (marquetry). Veneering lines came from Phillip Cheshire.


length:  120cm
width:  123.6cm
height:  72cm

Object number




CHARNY, D. (2011). Power of making: the importance of being skilled. London, V&A Publishing and the Crafts Council.


Gifted to Crafts Council by the maker.
  • 'Urban Picnic' Bench, Gareth Neal, 2010, © Gareth Neal, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.7. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd

  • 'Urban Picnic' Bench (detail), Gareth Neal, 2010, © Gareth Neal, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.7. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd

Maker's statement

‘The Vauxhall Collective’ is an annual bursary scheme and one I was lucky enough to win with an idea centered around ‘The Great British Weekend.’ I set about designing a body of playful objects for a series of ‘Urban Picnics’ which popped up in mystery locations in East London, city tarmac and concrete were temporarily transformed into grassy spaces inviting Londoners to meet, mix and consume their picnic under the summer sun. Picnickers entered an interactive and fantastical space featuring traditional weekend fare with a contemporary craft twist. From bat and ball, hula hoops and egg and spoon races, to logs and benches to sit on, the creations intend to bring jaded city dwellers back to their childhood memories of the quintessential British weekend.

The East London area was once home to hundreds of traditional furniture manufacturers, so it’s the perfect location for the project. The objects within their locations refer to this lost industry and claim back pieces of land for relaxation, fun and play.

This piece was exhibited in the most visited free exhibition at the V&A to date (Power of Making) in 2012.

Gareth Neal, 31 May 2016