Roots Lichen Water – the Unsung Heroes by Spencer Fung

Roots Lichen Water – the Unsung Heroes by Spencer Fung

We welcome you to the London King’s Road showroom, to see Christopher Farr x Spencer Fung installation ‘Roots Lichen Water’ which incorporates his three new rugs, his personal found and collected objects, fabrics and wallpaper from Christopher Farr Cloth, as well as a selection of his furniture that are upholstered in Christopher Farr’s fabrics. Open now, until late 2024.

A naturalist architect and artist, Spencer Fung has always been fascinated with the beauty of the natural world and keen to open our eyes to its wonder. His work champions hand crafted objects, whether in architecture, furniture or objects.

Architect and artist Spencer Fung

For our latest collaboration Spencer chose to champion the unsung heroes of the natural world that are central to earth’s foundations. Drawn to the beauty of the raw material, Spencer was keen to use natural, undyed Ghazni wool for his designs. Working alongside the Christopher Farr team, Fung worked to adapt sketches and artworks into three new hand knotted rug designs.

‘I always endeavour to raise awareness of the fragility of the natural world and to encourage people to live respectfully as part of the whole ecosystem. We can live in harmony with nature. I am in awe of nature’s forces, they are the engine that move everything.’ Spencer Fung

Considered the highest quality wool for rug making, Afghan Ghazni wool comes from sheep that have been bred specifically for the quality of their wool in rug making. The high lanolin content (due to living in cold mountain areas) gives the wool it’s durability, softness, lustre and stain resistance. Hand spinning enhances the beauty of its irregular texture and enhances its characteristic variation in colour.

Roots, natural Ghazni wool

In his work, Fung delights in the integrity of long-lasting noble materials such as wood, metal, stone and marble, and here, wool. The three new design include:  

In Fung’s culture, roots are revered and valued as crucial to our health due to their high mineral content. Spencer tells us:  ‘I imagined the life-giving support and pictorial shapes of the tree roots hidden below ground, and was inspired by the power of these unseen forces. Painting root lines is my way of discovering inner strength and exploring invisible vital connections between roots and the mycelial elements under our feet.’ 

Fung has a fascination for the incredible variety of lichen and moss that exist. Lichen has been traditionally used as natural dye. He shares: ‘I was inspired by the poetic 
symbolism and the graphic beauty of the lichens, often cluster in circular forms. I work in monochrome to capture the form and texture of this humble, vital, much ignored plant-life.’ 

‘Water’, referencing the mesmerising ripples of light and reflections on the surface; circles, the repetition of nature’s pattern. The artwork was prepared by the traditional Japanese marbling technique Suminagashi, which uses soap to create barriers in the ink. The artist has to liberate themselves and let go, allowing the ripples and rings to flow. Rather like nature, it is out of our control. 

We have been so relentless taking from nature, we are now in crisis and we need to restore and feel grounded. My work tries to tell the story of how precious and beautiful nature is. For this collection it has been a privilege to work with raw, natural wool with craft weavers that follow this ancient weaving tradition.’  Spencer Fung 

The installation partners Spencer’s new rug designs with the fabrics and wallpapers of Christopher Farr Cloth. 

The three rug designs, ‘Roots’, ‘Lichen’ and ‘Water’ in Ghazni wool, each measure  2.4 x 3.2m and are available immediately, with custom options available. The rugs are handmade by a community of Afghanistan women weavers, on traditional looms in their rural villages, with each stage of the production process independently audited by our fair trade partner Label STEP ensuring high welfare. Using local Afghan materials,  the ‘Roots’ rug uses naturally dyed local wool, with ‘Lichen’ and ‘Water’ rugs use natural local wool. 

‘Roots Lichen Water’ installation has been curated in conjunction with Teresa Roviras.

Photography Antonia Blunt

Roots Lichen Water – the Unsung Heroes by Spencer Fung