“We interpreted X as both ‘10’, for Wallpaper* Handmade’s 10th anniversary, but also a kiss for love, hence the name and colour of the bar. Love makes one blush, and the heart pound; increasing blood circulation through the body through our veins,” says Merlin Eayrs. “Red oak has a pinkish flesh-like hue, and a porous nature which has capillaries/veins so open you can blow through a short section. These wood veins have been pumped through with deep pink dye by Sebastian Cox, like blood-filled veins through love struck flesh.”
Zoe Chan adds: “The bar is a place of connection, a focal point for coming together. It feels very personal, much like the projects we tend to take on.”
“Normally a bar is linear and acts a bit like a barrier, by making it circular it becomes a more interactive and engaging place where you are a participant but there’s also an element of theatre about it” says Merlin Eayrs.
“We wanted to break down the concept of the bar,” says Zoe Chan (the other half of Chan + Eayrs), “and divide up its different functions into ten components that come together to form a whole.” So the Blushing Bar will have an area for alcohol, another for soft drinks, yet another for chopping up citrus fruit, and so on. There’s even a sink and a tap, all rigorously made out of red oak of course, though the bits of timber that are in constant contact with water have been thermally treated, making the timber much more dimensionally stable in a wet environment, and the tap has been lined with flexible plastic hose and given an elegant brass end.
With its sculptural external facades and sensuous carved feet, the bar combines sculptural qualities with functionality, while celebrating the unique properties of the timber it is made of. “Red oak is an incredibly open-grained porous material,” says Sebastian Cox. “When you shave a thin slice of it and put it against the light, you get this beautiful dappled effect through the xylum and its distinctly large spring growth.”
Red oak’s sustainability story also has a strong appeal for Sebastian, and for Merlin Eayrs of architects, interior designers and makers Chan and Eayrs, who designed the bar.
“As a business, we don’t select a raw material primarily on price, or workability or even aesthetics. We’re concerned first and foremost with what the resource is. What materials is the world offering us? Which resource needs to be used?” said Sebastian. “There are now 10 billion of us and we need to be concerned with how we share and shape our environment. We can’t go on using these superficial criteria for what we want. We have to be guided by what the earth provides.” Chan & Eayrs support this statement. “I think having a child has brought it home to me even more and made me really re-evaluate our products and priorities,” he said. “We use as much renewable, natural raw material and design as responsibly as possible. We also try to celebrate these materials, expressing them to let them shine through and detailing them in interesting ways. It’s about making sustainability appeal through beauty.”