Tord Boontje steps down as head of
Design Products at Royal College of Art

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News: London's Royal College of Art has announced that designer Tord Boontje will leave his post as head of the Design Products course at the end of September after four years in charge.

In a statement released by the Royal College of Art, Tord Boontje explained that he's stepping down in order to focus on his own design studio.

"It has... become increasingly difficult to combine the role with running my own design studio, engaged as we are with numerous international projects and activities. As this requires all my focus at the moment, I have decided it is time to halt my academic activities after four very successful years," he said.

The news comes as the college's annual Show RCA exhibition of work by graduates opens to the public today. The Royal College of Art says it will now begin the search for Boontje's replacement.

Boontje took over from Ron Arad as head of Design Products in 2009, though many expected the role to go to fellow Dutchman Jurgen Bey.

Boontje gained his MA in Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art and returned in 2000 as a tutor on the Design Products course, where he taught for four years before moving to France to establish his studio there. He opened a shop at his studio in Hackney, east London, in 2012.

At last year's RCA graduate show, Dezeen filmed a tour of the Design Products graduate work with Boontje . In Milan the previous year, he gave us a tour of the college's show Intent and told us about trends affecting young designers.

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Here's some more information from the Royal College of Art:


Head of Design Products Tord Boontje announced today that he is to leave the Royal College of Art at the end of September 2013

Appointed in September 2009, Professor Tord Boontje has led the Design Products department at the RCA for the last four years. Born in Enschede in the Netherlands in 1968, Boontje studied industrial design first at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and then at the Royal College of Art, where he received his MA in Industrial Design. Following graduation he set up his eponymous design company, Studio Tord Boontje. In 2000, Boontje returned to the College, this time as tutor in Design Products, teaching for four years before moving to France in order to establish his studio there. After 15 years - bringing his design career full circle - Boontje returned again to the RCA, this time as Head of Design Products programme, replacing Ron Arad.

During his tenure leading the world renowned department, Boontje strengthened its academic reputation by raising support for research. Along with increased student recruitment, he also increased the size of the department’s academic and technical teams. Commenting on his time at the College, Boontje said:

“It has been an amazing experience and a great pleasure to lead Design Products for the last four years; I’ve been lucky enough to work with incredibly talented and committed colleagues and students. It has however become increasingly difficult to combine the role with running my own design studio, engaged as we are with numerous international projects and activities. As this requires all my focus at the moment, I have decided it is time to halt my academic activities after four very successful years.’

Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art added:

“Tord’s tenure as Professor has been characterised by challenging and thought-provoking briefs, notably around new materials and sustainability. As a Professor, Tord has shown great sensitivity, generosity of spirit and openness towards his students. He has grown the MA programme, engaged an interesting and diverse range of faculty and been a great colleague to work with. We’ll miss him a lot, but wish him and Emma Woffenden every success with their studios.”

The College will undertake an international search to find a new Head of Design Products. The RCA graduate show, including the work of Boontje's Design Products students, opened today in Kensington. This will be Boontje's last graduate show as Head of programme.

  • David

    Maybe get Thomas Heatherwick to take over ? May just save London.

    • Chris

      London doesn't need saving, dear.

    • beatrice

      Have you seen the London routemaster? Such great increased visibility that they need to leave the LED lights on in the middle of summer? Sheesh.

  • Did he fall or was he pushed?

    • aye aye

      Yours must be the lowest kind of humour. Want to comment on his religion or sexuality as well? Since you’re down there…

      • orp

        Tord? Is this you?

  • So who who do you think will be next to take over this role? Would be great to see a woman head it. Patricia Urquiola would be my vote.

  • http://twitter.com/hannesgrebin @hannesgrebin

    Just got an idea: that professors are kind of the kindergarten teachers of design students I like this analogy :)