The Invisible Store of Happiness at Clerkenwell Design Week


The Sebastian Cox team is collaborating with sculptor, Laura Ellen Bacon to create The Invisible Store of Happiness; a celebration of wood and craftsmanship for Clerkenwell Design Week

We're uniting our design, making and cabinetry skills with Laura's artistry and a whole container of sustainable Maple and Cherry to create a brave installation in the dramatic archway at the historic Museum of the Order of St John.

We're working with AHEC (the American Hardwood Export Council) who will use their forward thinking research to Life Cycle Assess the entire project so we can truly measure the environmental impact of the work we're undertaking to create this piece.

Laura and Sebastian have been working on designs for the past few months and are excited to share their vision. The invisible Store of Happiness is going to be a three-metre high wooden sculpture consisting of a mighty steam bent frame that gives way to thinner, weaveable strips of wood that are manipulated into great, undulating ripples of wood.

The maple and cherry will be crafted into an elliptical-shape frame that showcases fine craftsmanship and impeccable cabinetry on a grand scale with huge arcs of steam bent wood, hand jointed together in mostly glue-less draw-bore mortice and tenon joints.

Through complex machinery the components of this solid frame are effectively shredded into strips and made supple and weave-able from time spent soaking in the River Thames beside Sebastian’s workshop. Using Laura's artistry and skill, these strips are then boldly manipulated by hand, flowing and twisting into the space to create a whirlpool of texture and shape, all held within its mighty external frame.

The piece is called The Invisible Store of Happiness because it embodies the joy found in making and handwork, something Laura and Sebastian share within their work. It's a store of other things too - including carbon.

We were fascinated to see the speed at which the timber we used to make the Wish List piece for Sir Terence Conran was regenerated in the American woodlands. We were also delighted that it was possible to assess the environmental impact of the piece; AHEC are leading the charge when it comes to life cycle assessment with timber. Therefore, we have vowed to measure the environmental impact of the Invisible Store project, and we've set ourselves the challenge of making the whole piece for less carbon than an iPhone 6+.

Brogan Cox