Furniture designer-maker Gray Hawk is a master craftsman with over 40 years experience creating bespoke and limited edition pieces for both public and private clients. Drawing on history and tradition, his sumptuous work sits in distinct contrast to the minimal, modernist styles currently in mode. Informed by a classical sensibility, his furniture is rich, bold, meticulously detailed and crafted with exacting precision.
A makers’ maker, Hawk is committed to producing work with the utmost integrity and describes his passion for his work originating from a love of wood – an inherently beautiful material, vibrant with colour, texture and form.
It is not surprising to learn then that a lot of the timber he uses is naturally sourced and he can often be found undertaking the physically demanding process of milling wind fallen trees in outback South Australia. Hawk describes enjoying the opportunity this process presents to connect with the land and while his work references the rich colours and bold geometric lines of Art Deco, he also appreciates the sensual beauty of nature. Inspired by biomorphic and zoomorphic forms, he enjoys preserving the integrity of the timber, highlighting natural colour and grain patterns.
Image: Gray Hawk, Tulip Table with Ascension Chairs, 2015, Palisander fsc., Stainless Steel, Photographer, Grant Hancock
Hawk is responsible for the design and fit-out of the ceremonial courtrooms at the Federal Courts in Victoria Square and earlier this year worked with landscape architects Oxigen on a commission for the Tonsley Innovation District, transforming a tree that had to be removed from the site into park benches.
Another recent commission for private clients saw Hawk create a pair of exquisitely detailed cabinets designed to house the full edition of Joseph Banks’ Florilegium. The cabinets feature a frame formed by the natural surface of the Redgum from which they are made and incorporate meticulously detailed intarsia panels. The panels – hand drawn, carved in relief, stained painted and inlayed – feature a series of Banksias, referencing the 743 botanical line engravings the cabinets were created to house. Designed specifically to suit the 35 Solander boxes in which the engravings are stored, the cabinets are a beautiful example of Hawk’s commitment to his craft and his clients’ practical and aesthetic requirements.
For further insight into Hawk’s process creating the cabinets and more on his approach to working with clients watch this video.
First published in The Adelaide Review Issue 437.