Crafts Magazine Guide to COLLECT 2015 - page 29

we were selling it in 30 countries. It was a full time
job to produce it,’ he recalls. Since 2003, the range
has been manufactured in Guatemala City by US
company Artecnica, which prides itself on working
with artisan communities in developing countries to
produce objects that reflect local skills.
In 1998, Boontje came up with the
Rough and
Ready Chair
made from salvaged materials, which
was shown at the ICA’s
Stealing Beauty
exhibition. In
a nod to the iconic Italian designer Enzo Mari, the
idea was that people could use the free drawings to
build their own version by collecting wood, blankets
and string. So far, so utilitarian. Then something
really interesting happened: Boontje discovered
decoration. The
Wednesday Collection
, created in
2000/2001, mixed hand-making techniques such
as embroidery with newer technologies like laser-
cutting, to dazzling effect. Picking up a version of his
Crow Chair
, he explains that he was keen to break out
of themasculine world of industrial design.
‘At the RCA there were 15 of us and only one girl
in our second year.’ As a result he found himself
attracted to something often considered to be a
‘female, domestic activity’. In retrospect it was an
incredibly bold move, as he points out: ‘Any maga-
zine that you would pick up at the time had
super-slick, glossy tables by Ross Lovegrove
and Philippe Starck. Then you had John Pawson
interiors. There was nothing there that I could
identify myself with,’ he says. ‘In general I’ve always
drifted to the places where there are less people,
whether it was music or clothes when I was growing
up. I was always a bit outside.’
This interest in ornament started with the birth
of his daughter. Before that, he confesses, he and
Woffenden spent most of their time in the workshop
rather than their flat in Peckham. Then suddenly
that all changed. ‘It wasn’t acceptable anymore to
have a pile of wood in the front room,’ he says. ‘Is it
a white box that you want to live in? Is that what you
want to call home?’
It was the
Wednesday Light
that brought him to a
genuinely mainstream audience, beyond the design
conscious. He had initially made the product for an
COLLECT 2015
27
ROUGHCHAIRPHOTO:ANNABELELSTON
Previous page:
Triwood Chair
,
designed for Porta
Romana, 2014
This page, clockwise
fromright:
Crow
Chair
,
Wednesday
Collection
, 2001;
Rough
and Ready Chair
, 1998;
tranSglass
, Emma
Woffenden and
TordBoontje, 1997
1...,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28 30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,...84
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