Magnetic Fields by
Studio Tord Boontje

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London Design Festival 2013: experimental surfaces covered in patterns created by magnetism are on show at Dutch designer Tord Boontje's studio this week (+ slideshow).

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Boontje mixed metallised pigments into liquid resin and painted a thin layer of the coating onto aluminium composite panels.

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He then used magnetic fields generated by permanent magnets or by passing an electric current through a wire to align the pigments. The resulting patterns were captured as the resin set.

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Sharp lines of pigment trace the position of the magnetic fields and gradually blur in the gaps between, creating swirling shapes and holographic visual effects.

"When you bring together two magnets they either attract or push each other away - if you have more magnets then something more complex starts to happen," Boontje told Dezeen.

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The collection is part of an ongoing process of investigation that Boontje told Dezeen first began when he was a student at Design Academy Eindhoven. "I was interested in exploring something that's invisible, that's part of nature," he said.

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Some of the surfaces have been combined with steel frames to create tables and chairs. Boontje chose steel "because it attracts magnets," and because he admires the steel sculptures created by minimalist artist Richard Serra.

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New pieces will be added to the collection for a future gallery show, and Boontje believes the process could be industrialised and applied to products as diverse as clothing and architectural cladding. "This is just the beginning," he said. "The surfaces can be used in many different ways."

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Magnetic Fields is being exhibited at Boontje's studio and shop in Shoreditch as part of the London Design Festival, and will remain on show until 8 December 2012.

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Other projects by Studio Tord Boontje include a series of lamps that are counterbalanced by filling their bases with objects like stones, books or apples, and a doorbell made from bent metal rods that support a random assortment of noisy everyday objects.

Boontje is due to leave his post as head of the Royal College of Art Design Products course at the end of this month after four years in charge, in order to focus on his own design studio.

Magnetic Fields by Studio Tord Boontje
Permanent magnets lined up to create the patterns

See more design by Tord Bootje »
See all our stories about London Design Festival 2013 »
See Dezeen's map and guide to London Design Festival 2013 »

Here's a brief description of the project from Studio Tord Boontje:


Magnetic Fields: Studio Tord Boontje

In his latest collection of work, Tord Boontje has created patterns through magnetism. This is an ongoing investigation into magnetism, pigments and holographic effects. These studio experiments have taken place over the last three years.

This collection of resin coated surfaces has an eerie depth in their embedded 3-dimensional patterns of electro magnetic movement, which allude to a dark sci-fi atmosphere.

The principle can potentially be applied to create bags, shoes, to interior and exterior architectural cladding, to spaceships...

"I use complex magnetic fields to orientate pigment particles in a very thin layer of resin. The magnetic fields are sometimes created through magnets and sometimes they use the magnetic field created by running an electric current through a wire" – Tord Boontje.

  • FlørQ

    Great way to approach a pattern.