Water works

Paula Gerbase’s water-inspired set for luxury footwear brand John Lobb flows into life

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From the rocky climbs of Dartmoor to the farmlands of Cornwall, Paula Gerbase’s set installations for John Lobb often take inspiration from natural landscapes. ‘There’s always been an elemental focus in my collections,’ explains the artistic director, ‘but this time I wanted to look at the link between nature and industry, and its connection to the process of shoemaking.’

Inspired by the River Nene and its historical importance to the process of leather tanning, Gerbase worked with set-designer Robert Storey to create a presentation set constructed from geometrically arranged industrial troughs of water and timber plinths. The power of the Nene, which runs through the Northampton location of John Lobb’s factory, was also evoked through large-scale projections of crashing waves onto the walls of the space.

‘We wanted to create something which felt connected to the journey of a meandering river,’ explains Storey of the build, which took two days to complete. ‘The plinths and troughs are arranged to feel as if you are walking along a path and discovering the collection. We hyper-modernised this concept by navigating guests along a graphic path to contemporise the experience, and bring it into the context of the London gallery location.’


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