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  • Conditions for Ornament no.4, Michael Rowe, 1988. Photo: David Cripps

Conditions for Ornament no.4 by Michael Rowe

Chosen by Martina Margetts at the Royal College of Art

We ask makers, curators, designers, creative practitioners and the Crafts Council team to select their favourite object from the Crafts Council Collection and to tell us why.

Martina Margetts, Senior Tutor, Critical & Historical Studies, Royal College of Art, London, says


In his long career from the 1970s to the present day, Michael Rowe stands out in contemporary UK silversmithing as the instigator of a reappraisal of this craft. His is a conceptual language of making based on mathematical and philosophical enquiry. Complex, fixed, geometric structures offer a poetic and aesthetic discourse on the typology of silverware. Rowe considers what might be ‘the conditions for ornament’ in an era of scepticism about decorative art. In all his works, which concern the surrounding space as much as the essence of form and surface, he shows us that architecture and Modernist abstraction can unite with a craftsman’s art to both confound and extend our experience of objects in everyday life.

Conditions for Ornament no.4, Michael Rowe, 1988. Crafts Council Collection: M40. Photo: David Cripps

About this object

Date of making: 1988
Date of acquisition: 1988
Technique/Process: Metalwork, welding, tinning
Materials: Sheet brass
Dimensions: H550mm x W520mm x D295mm
Collection Number: M40