From 6th until 18th January 2015, Sothebys
London is staging an unprecedented selling exhibition of works by internationally acclaimed designer Tord Boontje and sculptor Emma Woffenden in its New Bond Street Galleries. Curated by Janice Blackburn, Britains most influential curator and promoter in the field of contemporary arts and crafts, ORIGINALS showcases the designers most celebrated pieces of furniture, lighting, jewellery and textiles, alongside sculptures and drawings by his wife, Emma Woffenden.
Commenting on the show, curator Janice Blackburn said: "I have known and admired Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden's work for many years. I first spotted Emma at her graduation show at the Royal College of Art in 1993. Her dramatic sculptural glass stood out from all the other students work. It was so unique it caught my eye immediately and I have followed her ever since those days. Tord is a modern romantic although a lot his work is practical and functional. I love and admire his innovation and diversity: a fairy tale world and the down to earth. The stunning chandeliers for Swarovski, and the chair collection with Alexander McQueen were pure genius, but most remarkable was The Fig Leaf Wardrobe created for Meta in 2008 - an outstanding, stunning contemporary tour de force.
ORIGINALS is the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to the work of Tord Boontje who is widely recognised as one of the most innovative designers of his generation. Today, his creations, instantly recognisable by their romantic and artisanal sensibility, have become prized collectors items and many of his seminal works feature in the collections of leading cultural institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern, the Design Museum in London, the MoMA and CopperHewitt Museum in New York and The Stedelijk Museum and The Groninger Museum in The Netherlands.
The centre piece of the show is Tord Boontjes monumental Fig Leaf wardrobe a masterpiece of 21st century design. Celebrating the best craftsmanship the world has to offer, Fig Leaf gracefully combines the designers poetic aesthetic with the 18th century tradition of fantasy furniture. No fewer than eleven ateliers across England and France worked on the wardrobe. Its doors are encrusted with 616 hand-painted enamel leaves, perhaps the most ambitious enameling project known to date. The interior back of the wardrobe is lined with bespoke silk made by the Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company, pre-eminent English silk dyers. In 2009, the wardrobe was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and nominated the Best Furniture Design at the Brit Insurance Design Awards. Fig Leaf was also crowned Design of the year 2008 in the Financial Times top 10 design pieces of the 2000s.
Born in the Netherlands in 1968, the London-based designer succeeded Ron Arad to the function of Professor and Head of Design Products at the Royal College of Art in 2009, a position he held for four years. In 2012 he opened a studio, a workshop and a retail outlet in Shoreditch in East London to develop and exhibit his new creations.
His collaboration with a wide range of international brands resulted in some of his most famous designs, including his Garland light for Habitat, his Blossom chandelier for Swarovski and his landmark installation Happy Ever After for the Moroso showroom during the Salone Internazionale Del Mobile in Milan in 2004. In the past ten years, Tord Boontje has also worked with Alexander McQueen, Shiseido, Yamaha, Hewlett Packard, Bisazza, Target, Philips, Kvadrat, Perrier-Jouët, Nanimarquina, Artecnica, Authentics, Moroso and Meta.
Emma Woffenden (b. 1962) is a sculptor who trained extensively in glass making techniques. Her practice involves a wide range of materials and processes and many of her creations explore the physical and psychological states of the body. Her work is presented in a number of international public collections, including the MoMA in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Wellcome Trust and the Crafts Council in London, as well as the Ernsting Glass Museum in Germany and the Broadfield House Glass Museum in the United Kingdom. In October 2013 she was appointed North Lands Creative Glass Artistic Director.