Working on the cusp of design and craft, Tord Boontje uses industrial technologies to create exquisite glassware, lighting and furniture. Harnessing advanced materials and technologies to create products with a romantic, decorative aesthetic is an important trend in contemporary design and few designers have embraced it with such intelligence and ingenuity as Boontje.

Born in Enschede in the Netherlands in 1968, he studied industrial design at the Eindhoven Design Academy before moving to the UK to enrol at the Royal College of Art, London. After graduating in 1994, Boontje opened a studio in south London where he designed and made objects from recycled and ready-made industrial materials. The 1997 tranSglass collection of glass vessels was made from used beer and wine bottles and the 1998 Rough-and-Ready furniture from strips of wood strapped together and upholstered with blankets.

Advances in technology have since enabled him to harness new materials and computerised production processes to create contemporary versions of the intricate, romantic aesthetic he admires in 17th and 18th century objects. In the 2001 Wednesday Light, a light bulb is encircled by a floral garland of laser-cut stainless steel. When Boontje was commissioned to develop a contemporary chandelier from Swraovski crystal he made a glittering replica of a bough of blossom. ‘I like the glitter and sparkle of ice, cities, crystals and parties,’ he said. ‘When crystal is used densely with an internal light, it becomes magical, like the ice palace of the fairy queen.’

Tord Boontje is now adapting some of his limited edition objects for mass production. As well as continuing to design products for fashion designer Alexander McQueen, he has developed a collection of glassware for Dartington Crystal and a less expensive version of the Wednesday Light using nickel-plated brass rather than stainless steel for Habitat. Boontje is now working on more Swarovski chandeliers and collaborating with the digital artist Andrew Shoben and computer programmer Andrew Allenson on the Inflorescence project whereby a computer is programmed to produce randomly generated floral drawings.

1968 born in Enschede, Netherlands

1986 enrols at the Design Academy in Eindhoven to study industrial design.

1989 work placement in New York.

1990 works for the Studio Alchimia design group in Milan.

1991 graduates from the Design Academy, Eindhoven.

1992 moves to London to study for a master’s degree in industrial design at the Royal College of Art; meets the glass designer Emma Woffenden who has been is partner ever since.

1994 graduates from the Royal College of Art.

1995 designs exhibitions with Ulf Moritz in Amsterdam.

1996 moves to Peckham, south London where he sets up a studio with Emma.

1997 collaborates with Emma to produce the tranSglass collection of glass vases, beakers and carafes made from used beer and wine bottles.

1998 makes the Rough-and-Ready Chair in kit form from strips of pre-cut wood using blankets as upholstery; starts to design products, such as eyewear, for the fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

1999 participates in the Stealing Beauty: British Design Now exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.

2000 Tord and Emma’s daughter Evelyn is born; exhibits his Rough-and-Ready furniture at Tate Modern, London.

2001 designs the Wednesday Light and manufactures it on a batch production basis; develops a collection of vases for Dartington Crystal.

2002 returns to the Royal College of Art to teach industrial design; designs two chandeliers ‘Blossom and Horse’ for Swarovski’s Crystal Palace; develops Garland, a less expensive version of the Wednesday Light for Habitat; solo exhibition at the Barrett Marsden Gallery, London.

2003 participates in the Great Brits exhibition organised by the Design Museum and British Council at the 2003 Milan Furniture Fair; launches the Inflorescence project in collaboration with Andrew Shoben and Andrew Allenson; shortlisted for the Design Museumís Designer of the Year award.

2004 Works with Moroso on the "Happy Ever After" exhibition in Milan.
Develops the Midsummer Light and Until Dawn with Artecnica.