The Beauty of Nothingness by Nicolas Cheng


Stockholm designer Nicolas Cheng has designed a range of brooches made from bits of loofah, sponge and cotton.

Called The Beauty of Nothingness, the collection consists of 15 pieces made of materials generally used for bathing, such as natural sponge, sisal fibre, loofah and cotton, stitched together in different compositions.

The project will be exhibited at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm from 20 - 30 May and in Galerie Rob Koudijs, Amsterdam from 5 June - 3 July.

More about Nicolas Cheng on Dezeen:

Printable Offerings (March 2008)
Childhood Memories (March 2009)

Here's some more information from the designer:

A collection of 15 pieces of jewellery explored with different sensitivity and insight and which is culminating in a coherent body of work. The pieces exists in a gray zone somewhere between nothingness and purity. Each piece, challenging us through the beauty itself but also through the strangeness of the pieces.

What does nothingness mean? It is void, silence, unpretentious modest, poetry, virtually invisible. If I relate beauty to nothingness, what happens? Is nothingness sort of an absence of beauty? Or it is portrayed by our culture and society, and, in such case, can I define this absence of beauty? Is it beauty that you cannot even catch? Is its appearance neutral, almost hidden?

With my work, I’m trying to reach a new definition of beauty and to understand what unpretentious beauty is and reach its value. My pieces, when being placed on the body, show a nakedness of what
human intrinsic beauty is without hiding it. They stimulate our own reflection, also questioning how our emotions are reflected by the society.

Materials I work with are natural materials such as natural sponge, sisal fibre, loofah and cotton for cleaning up our body. Such materials absorb all our human dirt. But what is this human dirt? What makes it dirty? We don’t necessarily perceive our own dirt as disgusting, whereas, in the clash with the other, we automatically are ashamed of it. Same way, we tend to regard the other’s dirt as disgusting, not our own, very private dirt.

In the society we live in exist many difficulties when it comes to find an identity as humans and a position in it. When I refer to a beauty of nothingness, I suppose it is something I see or feel, but about which I keep wondering whether it is or it is not beauty. Such unevokable sensation of beauty is extremely subtle, hard to acknowledge: one needs to train ones eyes and go beyond the layers,
to discover the beauty of nothingness.

The project will be exhibiting in Konstfack, spring exhibition in Stockholm (20/05/ - 30/05/2010) and Galerie Rob Koudijs in Amsterdam (05/06/ - 03/07/2010)

See also:


Jewellery and objects by
Kelly McCallum
Jewellery by Helga Mogensen and Berglind Gunnarsdóttir Brooches by
Yurina Kira

Posted on Wednesday May 19th 2010 at 12:37 am by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • somewhere between Robin Hood and an anti-smoking campagne

  • Opening with a full spread add featuring Hannibal Lecter, naked to the waist, licking his one gloved hand, while skinning a pig with the other.

  • P Ashtray

    eggs and bacon!

  • Liz

    the human nakedness statement reminds me a bit ”digambara monks” in india… i like the honesty!!! x

  • Booh

    I’m having a difficulty understanding his conceptual idea of “the beauty of nothingness” when… where before they are described as “the collection consists of 15 pieces made of materials generally used for bathing, such as natural sponge, sisal fibre, loofah and cotton, stitched together in different compositions.”

    Doesn’t the whole idea of a composition seem to negate the fact that it’s nothing? I mean. I hate to say it but if your concept is “nothingness” then stick with “nothing”. Robert Raushenberg did it best with his blank canvases and erased drawings of William de Kooning…

    Dirt- nothingness… beauty… cleaning… nothingness… paired with luffas from hell… I feel conceptually and visually lost.

    I just feel lost.


    Booh: ”If your concept is “nothingness” then stick with “nothing”… so if the concept is ”emptiness”, then we have to stick with empty space…isn’t too surface and direct?? Is Anish Kapoor have to make everything with empty hole because of the emptiness? There is statement about ”What does nothingness mean” in the text. And to define what is nothingness… can be a long discussion!!
    And I see the theme… it touched many different area… is hard to say good or bad… there is nothing absolutely. Beauty or Ugly…

  • Will

    Following the trend perhaps?
    Use of dead stuff in design is really in vogue right now.. ie Julia Lohmann, Polly Morgan etc