Simon Whatley collaborated with furniture maker Jonathan Pang to produce the Span Table one of the pieces currently on show in the exhibition After the Storm in the John Hope Gateway until 28 May. Simon writes about the inspiration behind this commission:
‘As a long-standing admirer of the Maggie’s Centres and having lost close family members and friends to cancer, I was delighted, honoured and moved, when asked to create a new communal, kitchen table for the Edinburgh centre by Chief Executive, Laura Lee.
Maggie Keswick Jencks and her husband Charles developed the idea of “kitchenism” as a key element of the Maggie’s Centre experience. The kitchen is the social hub of every centre and the kitchen table is the focal point for social interaction; a place for people to sit, drink tea, relax and converse – fulfilling fundamental human needs for conversation, mutual support and friendship.
Made from storm-fallen oak, donated by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh through its After the Storm project, the 9’ x 4’ oval, SPAN communal table will provide the opportunity for a “welcoming cup of tea around a communal table” and aid the recovery process for thousands living in Edinburgh and the Lothians for many years to come.’
The SPAN communal table was first exhibited at The Lighthouse in Glasgow and is currently on display at the John Hope Gateway building. Recently Simon has further collaborated with Jonathan Pang to create SPAN tripod stools that have been designed to accompany the table and currently are being prototyped in Botanics’ Norway maple and Scottish elm.
A book exploring the themes of storms, regeneration and resilience which also includes photographs of all the pieces in the exhibition on or near the site where the timber grew is available from the John Hope Gateway shop or on our shopify site https://rbge-publications.myshopify.com/products/after-the-storm price £10.