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<< Back to Home & Style, March 2013

What a Relief

Samantha Brooks

Eighteen months’ growing time, from initial design to installation, brought this olive tree to its finished 40-foot height. The sculptural relief is the work of the London-based firm DKT Artworks, whose team carried out the commission for the owners of a home in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood (see "London Time"). The relief, which spans the home’s three-story stairwell, comprises many parts—the trunk alone contains 30—that, after being hand-carved off-site, were assembled to the wall like puzzle pieces and covered with a water-based paint.

The design took root when DKT Artworks founding partner Steve Keeling, whose specialty is sculpture, drew the balustrade as a counterpoint to the tree, created a computer-generated model of the plant’s pattern, and experimented with physical prototypes. From start to end, the project was indeed involved, but it was not the 30-plus-person firm’s largest project to date. "We were once commissioned to create 28 artworks, plus decorative finishes in a range of patterns, and worked with marble, paint, plaster, etched glass, and architectural gilding, all for a single project," says Keeling.

Since 1979, when he started the firm with the painter Niki Davies and the industrial designer Sean Trowbridge, DKT has cultivated a global clientele. In addition to appearing in London, the firm’s creations have sprouted in residences in the Caribbean and the Middle East and aboard megayachts that cruise the world.

DKT Artworks, +44.20.8682.8460, www.dkt.co.uk

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