Tord Boontje: Biography

Photography by Angela Moore

Photography by Angela Moore

Tord Boontje is known for his expression of romanticism in contemporary design. Some of his designs are whimsical and light-hearted; at the same time they can connect with strong emotions.

I’m interested in creating elements for everyday life that are exciting and uplifting to live with” says Boontje. With a strong interest in storytelling, nature, decoration, materials and technology, his work has an experimental approach. The results can vary from the ornate to the minimal, from the handcrafted to made-by-robots.

Tord Boontje is originally from the Netherlands and his education at the Eindhoven Design Academy and the Royal College of Art in London set the foundations for Studio Tord Boontje.

Established in 1996, the studio’s early projects were already in the area of mass production as well as experimental one-off pieces.

The studio has since worked with international companies on a range of products that includes lighting, graphic identity, textiles, ceramics, site-specific installations, and furniture. Work can be found in major museum collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and MoMA in New York.

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.

The studio moved to Shoreditch, East London in 2012. From here the studio conceives, creates and launches new 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.



1991           Graduated Eindhoven Design Academy
1994           Graduated Royal College of Art
1996           Established Studio Tord Boontje in Peckham, South London
2002           Designed the Garland for Habitat
2004           Happy Ever After installation at Moroso’s Milan showroom
2005           Moved to Bourg-Argental, France
2007           Monograph published by Rizzoli New York
2009           Returned to London to take up position at the Royal College of Art
2012           Moves studio to Shoreditch, East London and opens his first retail space
2013           Steps down as Head of Design Products
2015           ORIGINALS selling exhibition at Sotheby’s London with Emma Woffenden


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



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