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Friday, February 27, 2009

...Nothing But A Fig Leaf

At the Palm Beach Annual Arts and Antiques Show,

I saw something that stirred a sweet childhood memory.

When I was little, I lived with my Grandmother ( I called her Bebe ) she was so beautiful and sweet. I was an only child, so needless to say, Bebe indulged me in many ways.
We had a huge wisteria hedge, and there was an opening in this hedge where I would hold court with my imaginary friends ( don't worry, there were only 2, and it was age appropriate for a 4 or 5 year old ).

When lunch time came around,

my Bebe would bring me little cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off ( I hated crust ).
She would hand little sandwiches to my 'friends' as well.

And I remember , even at the time , how sweet she was.

Bebe would look right into the faces of these imaginary friends, and ask them questions and talk to them, while nodding and smiling.
Don't you love her ???

I did, and I always felt loved by her.
This woman was so kind and loving to me.

I loved her more than anything in the whole world.

Spoken just like a child , I know.

Anyway, this is the 'something' that stirred my memories. I found this an amazing piece of functioning ART !

The Brilliant Artist is Tord Boontje

The Fig Leaf by Tord Boontje for Meta
Nominated for the Brit Insurance Furniture Award 2009

How is this for a fabulous coat closet. I can see a few furs hanging right now....

I can also see myself hiding inside, while my Bebe brings me and my little friends tea and tiny sandwiches

This is exquisite workmanship in my eyes.

The element of whimsy , makes it feel timeless to me .

Like the The Mad Hatter at The 'Mad Tea Party' is timeless.

The Devil is in THE DETAILS.

To me, this looks just like the under-side , or my secret place, in the wisteria hedge.

"The monumental fig-leaf encrusted doors open to reveal a bronze tree arching up and outward against the background of a peaceful landscape in silk. The Fig Leaf wardrobe reflects a time when craftsmen vied to outdo each other in demonstrating their skills in the hope of attracting wealthy patrons. This piece is widely viewed by the talented artisans who have undertaken its challenge as one of the most difficult and exceptionally finished enamel works of recent memory.
The 616 hand-painted enamel leaves, varying across 10 basic shapes, and each with a unique colour-way, use no ‘transfers’ which are otherwise the mainstay of nearly all enamels done today, but instead rely solely on hand painting of both front and back – another exceptional undertaking as rarely do makers apply as much attention to both sides of an enamel work. The colours used are bespoke mixes and not otherwise available. The overall size of the larger leaves as well as the enormous surface area to be painted were originally thought impossible tasks, but with ingenuity and perseverance, this has been overcome. The delicacy of essentially 616 pieces of glass suspended individually from a complicated tangle of hand-formed supporting vines required development of a novel mapping and hanging system. The matching of colours across bronzes, silks, enamels and iron challenged the ateliers to develop new techniques for finishing and matching.The interior is dominated by a lifelike lost wax bronze cast of a hand-carved tree upon which to hang clothing. The interior back-drop and base are upholstered in a custom hand-dyed and woven silk with an earth-to-sky motif. Each wardrobe also includes a bespoke bronze hanger as well as a custom set of handmade tools for adjustments and maintenance. The exterior rear of the wardrobe is finished with a hand-stippled trompe l’oeil."

Tord Boontje
Tord Boontje has long cultivated a delicate marriage of design with emotion that is as broadly accessible as it is enticing. His work draws from a belief that modernism does not mean minimalism, that contemporary does not forsake tradition, and that technology does not abandon people and senses. Boontje’s designs often temper edges with softness, borrow inspiration from nature, and employ a décor of forms and layers to engage and
entice an observer’s imagination and emotions.
Many of his seminal works are held in public collections throughout the world including multiple pieces in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Groninger Museum. Tord has received a number of public and private commissions and clients include Alexander McQueen, Murray Moss, Pearl Lam, Nadja Swarovski, and Ian Schrager.
Tord Boontje was born in Enschede, Netherlands in 1968. He first studied industrial design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (1986 –1991). Following several internships, including Alessandro Mendini’s Studio in Milan, he returned to studying and completed a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London (1992 - 1994). He later taught at the same school on invitation from Ron Arad who was Professor of Design Products at the time, before eventually establishing his own studio in 1996. Tord Boontje lived and worked in London from 1995 to 2005 and currently lives and works in Saint Etienne, France with his wife and daughter. A biography of Tord’s work was published by Rizzoli New York in 2007.
dutch born
Meta's blue-sky philosophy allowed Tord Boontje's limitless imagination "a unique opportunity to design very special pieces in the knowledge that they are realized without any compromise but every time enriched by the most skilled hands".

Part of the assembly process.

Can you imagine the task at hand ??


Tiny, Tiny, Tiny and tedious, tedious.

The enameling process.
Thanks for indulging me. Have a sweet weekend.

For More: and then just poke around

( enlarge any picture for more info and a closer look )

Renee Finberg 'TELLS ALL' in her BLOG.....


  1. I remember seeing that last year and thinking 'that man must have gone stri crazy making all of those leafs'. It is a beautiful piece of art and your memories of your Bebe sound so lovely.
    Ness xx

  2. Just amazing Renee, from the first photo of all that fabulous dripping Wisteria, to the comprehensive story of the crazy cool artist and his opus.
    xo xo
    PS I loved the "pits" too, having spent some time there ha ha

  3. N-

    wasn't it beautiful ?

  4. A fabulous post Renee - what an amazing artisan Tord is! I'm a wisteria aficionado too, so just loved your gorgeous image. Your Bebe sounded fabulous & what insight she had in collaborating with your imaginary adventures. The world needs more Bebe's!
    Millie ^_^

  5. Gosh, this is wonderful. I never tire of the variety of genius.

    I too was an only child, and loved to spend time inside magnolia trees.

  6. It reminds me of Narnia, magical. love your story about your Bebe.

  7. Very lovely story, Renee!.. and that wisteria.I want one in my garden. Beautiful!

  8. That is amazing! How fun would that be for a closet!

  9. You and your blog are so chic! I am glad I have found you.
    Hugs from Milan, Italy. M.



Thanks for participating!!

About Renée Finberg

I have been in this business since the age of 22.

I love what I do and cannot imagine my life without Design.

Design Challenges are great.

And because of those challenges

I have imported fine antique pieces from Paris,

Designed and Manufactured Furniture,

Created Fantastic Window Treatments,

And solved all kinds of spatial & architectural issues

With my unique style.

If I can't find it, I create it.

My rooms would make excellent movie sets.

I am a visual, tactile and audio sensitive individual.

Creating is what I live for, not math, not spelling, not science.

Just Great Design.

Just imagine how it would be if each of us,

If only for a few hours of everyday,We could be in a space that is our very own.A place that is exactly the way we want it to be

Surrounded by all the things we wanted to see,

The atmosphere we wanted feel, smell and the sound we wanted to listen to.

Private Paradise



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