Tord Boontje

The art of glass

“I often long for a world that’s warmer and more humane, and I use nature as a way of creating it.” So says renowned Dutch craftsman Tord Boontje, describing the aesthetic behind his exquisite glassware, lighting and furniture. In the latest of our series of exclusive video interviews, marking Swarovski’s 120th anniversary this year, he looks back at some of the breathtaking creations he has conjured in crystal.
 Educated at the Eindhoven Design Academy and the RCA, Tord Boontje burst into our consciousness with the now-famous Garland Light innovation for Habitat in 2002: this delicate leaf-patterned creation, made of etched metal, can be wrapped around a light bulb, transforming living spaces with magical, dappled shadows. It’s now on permanent exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s V&A. He went on to produce the glittering Blossom light fitting for Swarovski Crystal Palace, which he described as “bringing romance back to the world of chandeliers”. There was also jewelry—for instance, the intricate Blossom Lace necklace for Atelier Swarovski that was inspired by the Blossom chandelier; and exquisitely simple bracelets made from cherry pips from his aunt’s garden interspersed with richly colored crystals. 

No visitor to London’s V&A museum in 2003 will ever forget his breathtaking Silent Light Christmas tree: created in partnership with Alexander McQueen, the installation took 1.5 tons of crystal, and rotated on a plinth over a shattered mirror, bouncing light around the Grand Entrance. 

Firm in his belief that modernism and technology should never ignore artisanal tradition, he seeks to engage the observer’s imagination, senses and emotions. “Crystal helps in that way, because it brings a glimmer of romance and glamour.” Take a break and sit back and lose yourself in the beauty of Tord Boontje’s vision.

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