Dezeen Magazine

Tord Boontje appointed Professor and Head of Design Products at the Royal College of Art

Dezeenwire: the Royal College of Art has confirmed the appointment of Dutch Designer Tord Boontje as head of the Design Products course, replacing Ron Arad.



The Royal College of Art announced today that Tord Boontje has been appointed Professor and Head of Design Products, one of the most highly regarded and influential design departments in the world. Boontje will fill the role that is currently held by Professor Ron Arad, who steps down from the position in July.

With a background that embraces design education as much as design itself, Boontje’s career has come full circle. Born in Enschede in the Netherlands in 1968, Tord 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. In 2000, Boontje returned to the College, this time as tutor in Design Products. Four years later he left to set up his own design company, Studio Tord Boontje.

Tord Boontje’s designs are often described as being counter-minimalist in their decorativeness. The Dutch designer is the subject of a major book by Martina Margetts, Tord Boontje, which takes a close look at his work, fleshing out the relationship between craft, design and technology . This association is often referred to in reviews of his work. Boontje has shown internationally in group exhibitions, solo exhibitions and is regularly discussed in catalogues, books and the media.

Studio Tord Boontje works in the areas of product design, furniture, textiles, architectural commissions and graphics. The studio’s clients and projects are often international, with two major architectural projects currently ongoing in Taiwan and Florida. The nature of the studio’s projects range from design for affordable industrial production to handmade artisanal objects in developing countries such as Guatamala, Colombia and Senegal.

Alongside his new position heading up Design Products, Boontje will retain his role as Director of Studio Tord Boontje. As such he will continue to build on the significant body of work that has made his name as a designer celebrated all over the world. He is currently working together on an exhibition at the National Glass Museum in Denmark (Ebeltoft) with his partner, the glass artist Emma Woffenden, whom he met whilst they were fellow students at the RCA.

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art, said:

"Tord brings with him the critical insights of a top rank designer, the strong leadership experience gained by setting up an commercially successful design studio, and - of course - the reputation of all the objects and environments and buildings he has created. On top of this he has a strong background in design education, much of it gained here at the Royal College of Art, a place he loves. We are delighted that he will be able to bring these talents to his position as Professor of Design Products, to the great benefit of the College. This is a terrific appointment."

Professor Tord Boontje said:

“I am very excited about my appointment as Professor of Design Products at the Royal College of Art. It is a great opportunity to lead and inspire a fantastic group of students, tutors, technicians and administrative staff. The department has a fantastic pluralistic character, an experimental nature, a culture of innovation and a very individual approach to student’s development. I am very keen to maintain these qualities and to build further upon them.”


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·        The Royal College of Art first established a Department of Furniture Design in 1955. In 1999 Furniture Design and Industrial Design amalgamated to become Design Products. Graduates of the course have played a major role in contemporary design, with students including Ross Lovegrove, Thomas Heatherwick, David Mellor, Tord Boontje, Konstantine Grcic, Jasper Morrison, Sam Hecht, Margaret Buck and Dick Powell.

· The Royal College of Art is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, specialising in teaching and research and offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of fine art, applied art, design, communications and humanities. There are over eight hundred masters and doctoral students and more than a hundred professionals interacting with them – including scholars, leading practitioners of art and design and innumerable specialists, advisors and distinguished visitors.