Tord Boontje: Biography

Photography by Per Ranung

Photography by Per Ranung

Tord Boontje was born in The Netherlands in 1968. His education at the Eindhoven Design Academy, class of 1991, and the Royal College of Art London, graduate of 1994, set the foundation for Studio Tord Boontje.

Early projects involved creating studio produced low cost or free products such as Transglass in 1997, the Rough-and-Ready furniture in 1999 and the Wednesday Collection in 2001. He started to show his work in exhibitions, and institutions such as the British Council and the Design Museum recognised and supported his talent.

By 2002 the unique Garland light for Habitat was a widely recognised and distributed product and the articulate and beautiful Blossom chandelier for Swarovski was making waves; but it was an installation created in the Moroso showroom during the 2004 Milan Salone that sent the international media into a frenzy. Titled Happy Ever After, this was an installation full of texture, colour and imagery. This sensorial experience made the statement that design can be married with emotion. It established that the Studio’s work draws from a belief that modernism does not mean minimalism, that contemporary does not forsake tradition, and that technology does not abandon people and senses.

In 2005, a high profile project with Target saw Tord on USA television in his own advert surrounded by animated animals and nature and in 2007 Rizzoli dedicated a book to describing the first 10 years of Studio Tord Boontje.

Since 2005, Tord Boontje has worked with a range of international companies such as Shiseido, Yamaha, Hewlett Packard, Bisazza, Target, Philips, Kvadrat, Alexander McQueen, Perrier-Jouët, Nanimarquina, Artecnica, Authentics, Meta and has continued his work with Swarovski, Moroso, and Habitat. The range of products include lighting, graphics, textiles, ceramics and furniture. The work can be found in major collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA and Copper-Hewitt museum in New York, the Design Museum and Tate Modern in London.

This extremely creative and prolific studio responds to and leads trends. An interest in social issues grew into working with artisans in developing countries and led to projects in Guatemala, Senegal, Rio de Janeiro and Columbia. The studio has grown, evolved and travelled. They spent 5 years in rural France before Boontje decided to return to London in 2009 and engage with education, taking up the challenging appointment as Professor and Head of Design Products at the Royal College of Art, a position he held for 4 years.

An experiment to place the studio, workshop and his first retail outlet on one premises led to a move to Shoreditch in East London in 2012. From here the studio launches and makes new experimental collections of products. This independent and creative method of working also serves and inspires the still continuing long-term relationships with clients and initiates new ones.

 

Work in Public Collections

MoMA, New York
Cooper Hewitt, New York
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
British Council, London
Crafts Council, London
Manchester City Gallery
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Groninger Museum, Groningen
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Helsinki Design Museum

 

Awards

2013           Red Dot Design Award
2011           Wallpaper* Design Awards
2008           Elle Décor Design Award
2007           Red Dot Design Award
2006           IF Product Design Award
2005           Dutch Designer of the Year
2005           Innovation Prize for Textile Collection, Cologne Fair
2004           Best Product, New York Gift Fair
2003           Designer of the Year, Elle Decoration
2003           Short-listed, Designer of the Year, Design Museum London