What is Luxury? Exhibition

Estate & Manor Magazine have been lucky to visit an amazing exhibition at V&A Museum in London this month. The “What is luxury?” exhibition highlights some truly incredible pieces and we had a really hard time choosing which items to write about! The exhibition is organized by V&A in partnership with the Crafts Council and runs until the 27th of September, so if you haven’t paid V&A a visit in a while, it is definitely worth doing so while those amazing and unique entries are still there. Trust us, you will enjoy it!

We did not really know what to expect when we set off for the exhibition. The name seemed intriguing and we did not want to spoil the surprise by Googling the exhibition ‘synopsis’ beforehand. We expected to find some lavish and incredibly expensive items there, but what we saw was simply breathtaking. The range of items and the uniqueness of each single one of them is overwhelming; it leaves you no other option but to keep reminding yourself to close your mouth each time you move to the next display. From delicate church vestments, embellished with Venetian lace to crystal-studded sculptures, military dresses and stunning fashion designs, ceremonial seats for riding elephants, fascinating jewellery and ornamental pieces, a DNA vending machine and so, so much more. As always at V&A, the exhibition is very interactive and well presented, lots of detailed information can be found in the form of text or videos. A gold mine for the lovers of art and science, as well as for all those of us, who are just curious to see lots of unusual things.

The Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts is one of the oldest myths of a hero’s quest. It is a classic story of betrayal and vengeance and like many Greek myths has a tragic ending. A thrilling adventure to retrieve the Golden Fleece, kept beyond the edge of the known world in a land called Colchis (modern-day Georgia in Southwest Asia)… How did you imagine the Golden Fleece itself when reading the story? Giovanni Corvaja, an incredibly talented multi-award winning goldsmith, was deeply inspired by the myth. He spent over 10 years of detailed research perfecting ways of transforming gold into thread, which resulted in the creation of his bespoke Golden Fleece collection featuring gold fur. ‘Magic is all about transformation. The idea of transforming metal which is actually something solid into fiber, which is usually something natural and comes from animals or plants is fascinating’, says Giovanni. The astonishing centerpiece of the Golden Fleece collection – the hat, can be seen in its glory at the V&A. 160 kilometres of finer golden thread (less than 10 microns) were used to create this unbelievable delicate item. It took 2500 hours to make! Giovanni Corvaja considers gold to be a symbol of purity and perfection and his Golden Fleece is a true demonstration of his passion and magical virtuosity.

“ To see a World in a Grain of Sand…”

Studio Drift have received numerous awards for their Fragile Future collection and we can clearly see why. The Concrete Chandelier from the Fragile Future collection, a remarkable and indeed, luxurious piece, was purchased by V&A and takes its proud place at the exhibition. Real handpicked dandelion seed heads were harvested before opening into ‘clocks’ and individually applied to LED lights to create this extraordinary chandelier, creating numerous tender galaxies. The lights are powered by an innovative three-dimensional bronze circuit, which conducts electricity and makes it possible to avoid wiring. This fragile, airy and incredibly gorgeous piece combines science, nature and esthetics in a genius way.

The Fragile Future collection is described by Studio Drift as “A distinct mix between hi-tech and poetic imagery. Light functions as a symbolic and emotional ingredient rather as a tool to simply illuminate the dark’.

‘My cylinders contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world, my plants are only to be found in my compost heap, and my flowers are still unnamed’ – this is what Steffen Dam says about his work. As a child, Steffen loved studying his grandparents’ insect cabinets and illustrated volumes on biology, natural sciences, flora and fauna, and now he makes enchanting imaginary glass specimen, some of which can be seen at the V&A. Steffen Dam is a holder of multiple awards and prizes and his marvelous works can be found across the world in both public and private collections. Steffen’s Jelly Fish installation was purchased by the V&A with the support of the Friends of the V&A and is an example of his ‘Marine Biology’ series. While working as a glass-maker, Steffen became interested in the aesthetics of unplanned faults and irregularities caused during the making process and found pure inspiration in unexpected flaws and defects. His jars represent a fascinating vision of the artist who manages to create his own alchemical worlds and creatures in his naturally enchanting items.

The Rematerialisation of Systems? Body 1 and Body 2, you ask? Sounds a bit confusing, doesn’t it? “We always try to reflect on what design is,” says Rosario Hurtado, one of the founders of El Ultimo Grito, a spectacular futuristic creative studio, in his interview with DesignoDaily. Their captivating Rematerialisation of Systems project serves as a metaphor for the real world systems and interactions. This work questions the limits to our freedoms and capacity to choose alternatives: “For us, design is just the processes by which you materialise ideas. When you think about design in these terms, everything comes into design – philosophy, writing, everything – and the disciplines are just mediums within which you work. You no longer need to think about whether it’s art, design, a film or whatever”, explains Rosario.

An exceptional jewellery piece by Nora Fok, Bubble Bath, is a stunning celebration of luxury in its innovative and inspirational design. Nora clearly demonstrates how insignificant the cost of the materials used can be, proving that true luxury is not always about platinum and diamonds when it comes to jewellery. Her Bubble Bath necklace was created by carefully hand knitting nylon filament around toy marbles: seemingly so fragile and yet so durable. Nora is fascinated by different aspects of nature, structure, systems and order, the mysteries and magic, which she sets out to capture in her work. Her items are often quite complicated and require many hours, days or weeks to produce, but Nora has the necessary dedication to see her ideas through. Her ethereal zephyr jewellery is fascinating in its purity and immaculateness, style and revelation.

About Anastasia Tilston

Born in Moscow, Russia, Anastasia is currently living in a gorgeous county of Cheshire with her husband and three cats. Holding a master’s degree in Languages and Teaching, she spent over 10 years working privately with multiple high-net-worth clients across Russia and then became a Co-Founder of an English language centre for children in Slovenia. Moving on, Anastasia eventually found herself in private education recruitment and used her extensive professional knowledge to build an international educational agency specialising in providing the best English speaking childcare professionals and tutors to VIP clients around the globe. Anastasia is now a Co-Founder and Director of Estate & Manor Magazine; she uses her experience in recruitment to develop the only online magazine dedicated to people working in UHNW households and VIP services. Aside from business, Anastasia enjoys travelling, arts, literature and wildlife.

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