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Lizz Aston (left) and Jean Willoughby find creative inspiration in simple wine stains.
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Most people try to avoid getting wine stains on a new piece of furniture, but not Jean Willoughby, a furniture designer who made a splash at last year's Design Week with a pair of wood and concrete dressers, and Lizz Aston, who makes oversized installations by twisting traditional textile techniques. For Radiant Dark (page 28), they paired up to design a table dyed in a giant Rubbermaid basin of vino.
The starting point for the project was a photo Aston found of a jar of pickles that had exploded on a supermarket floor. The brine-etched tiles got them thinking about the popularity of concrete counters in contemporary kitchens and how the material doesn't always stand up to food acids like lemon juice, white vinegar and wine.
"We call it the Malbec Etched Table," says Willoughby who created its form and had it cast in concrete. Using one of Aston's exploded lace designs as a stencil, they then covered the piece in cold wax before placing it in a bath of Misterio red.
"We may have had a few glasses ourselves during the process," admits Willoughby, but Aston thinks their creative differences are the reason for the project's success.
"I like the dialogue that happens when you collaborate with another designer," she says. "It takes you somewhere you wouldn't necessarily go on your own."