Designs by Boontje: Modernism Doesn’t Mean Minimalism


“It’s really important that design remembers how to put value into daily life.”

Tord Adrie Boontje was born in Enschede, Netherlands in 1968. When he was little, he wanted to be a forester and look after animals. Then for a while, he was very interested in space, physics and science. His mother was a textile designer and a teacher (in history of art), so there were always lots of art books around. At the age of 15, Boontje knew he wanted to go to art school.

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Tord Boontje studied at the Design Academy in Einhoven and the Royal Academy of Art in London. In 1996, he founded Studio Tord Boontje in London and (except that four years he spent in Bourg-Argental, France) has been living and working in London ever since. He is currently the Professor and Head of Design Products at the Royal College of Art.

His installations has been seen all over the world. The Tord Boontje Studio’s products are also exhibited internationally (Victoria and Albert Museum London, British Council London, Crafts Council London, Manchester City Gallery, Moma New York, San Francisco Moma, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Groningen Museum).

The Dutch designer’s works are often discussed in catalogues, books and the media. He is the subject of a book by Martina Margetts, which takes a close look at his work, fleshing out the relationship between craft, design and technology.

The Studio’s lyrical and highly-detailed objects are created with the use of the latest production and material technologies and always embrace nature and emotions. Tord Boontje is famous for his dreamy patterns of lovable creatures and whimsical flowers. He works on hand crafted projects and mass production industrial designs, too.

The products (furniture, textiles, architectural commissions and graphics) are manufactured in different places of the World. According to Boontje, the cooking pots of the “Witches’ kitchen” collection are made in a Colombian village in the middle of the jungle. It took two or three months to develop the technique and make it perfect. Now, it’s a beautiful product and villagers are so proud of it.
Boontje has developed lamps in Brazil to help local artisans earn better wages. He also set up a glass workshop in Guatemala to produce the “tranSglass” collection. The “Shadowy Chairs” on the other hand are handmade with care in Senegal.

Tord Boontje has collaborated with Alexander McQueen, created designs for Phillips, Primavera, British Airways London, Perriet Jouet, Artecnica, Moroso, HP, Target (Christmas theme in 2006) and Swarovski. His unique or limited edition pieces push the boundaries between art and design. He believes that modernism does not mean minimalism, that contemporary does not forsake tradition, and that technology does not abandon people and senses.

Allegro-Crescendo Stereo Speakers

HP Mini

Light Installation in Abu-Dhabi

Lights by Boontje: Daedalus, Midsummer, Future flora, and Garland

Pearl Candelabra

Free Flowing

Tables: Rialto Deco, Oval

Witches’ Kitchen

Primavera and Senseo

Commodes: Night Vision, Summer Trees

L’Armoire Wardrobe

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Carousel with Alexander McQueen

The End

Winter Wonderland

Photos via the Tord Bontje Studio‘s website.

About Petra

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