At this month’s edition of Salon del Mobile, Milan’s premier design fair, the iconic jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. will unveil its home collection with five unique window installations by acclaimed artists Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons, Anna Galtarossa, Shantell Martin, and Anna-Wili Highfield.
At the core of this presentation is the concept of the greenhouse—in this case, a beautifully wrought objet d’art made of sterling silver, copper, and glass. The company’s artistic director, Reed Krakoff, explained in a statement that the romantic architectural form was chosen because it is the “perfect expression of Tiffany craftsmanship and a symbol of the power of creativity.”
The greenhouse can be seen as a symbol of incubation, a place where new phenomena are born, cultivated, and brought to blossom. It is also an apt setting to showcase Tiffany’s century-old legacy of elegant, high-quality American design—something Krakoff is highlighting by including the distinctive window installations first introduced by Gene Moore, the legendary artistic director who joined Tiffany in 1955. Moore has been widely recognized as a pioneer of the company’s iconic brand identity.
Tiffany’s debut Home & Accessories collection under Krakoff plays on the whimsical, footloose side of the brand. Christened the “Everyday Objects” collection, it explores items we may encounter in our everyday lives—whose ubiquitous shapes are often taken for granted—and re-contextualizes them as covetable luxury objects, from a sterling-silver crazy straw wrought in vermeil gold to a quintessential paper coffee cup made of bone china and painted Tiffany’s signature robin’s-egg blue.
In the spirit of creative re-contextualization, meanwhile, the five female artists chosen for the celebration were invited to reinterpret the standard notion of the greenhouse. A New York-based artist known for her use of seductive imagery and a sense of dirty glamour in her work, Marilyn Minter created her installation by filling the structure to the bursting point with the objects in Tiffany’s home collection, with shattered glass on the floor and fogged windows in a lurid green hue suggesting that the greenhouse had become a hothouse indeed. (A series of individual videos feature the artists’ unique perspectives on transforming the objects into works of art.)
A Pictures Generation artist known for her photography and films, Laurie Simmons often makes work that takes place in the romantic—and sometimes sinister—setting of a toy dollhouse. Her installation for Tiffany incorporates haunting images of dolls and ventriloquist dummies, juxtaposed with the sweeter photographs of blooming flowers that she presents as tutus, from which elegant (albeit disembodied) ballerina legs pirouette.
Australian-born artist Anna-Wili Highfield uses paper and other materials to convey organic realism. For her installation we see a bird leading a small flock, flying out from the greenhouse trailing along with it an eruption of flowers as if liberating them from their glass confines.
Shantell Martin, a British-born, New York-based artist whose playful black-and-white work has been embraced by the tech community, has transformed her greenhouse installation to sprawl out into a miniature city populated by her signature shapes and motifs.
Using familiar materials in an unconventional way, Anna Galtarossa, is an Italian artist who creates nuanced, totemic constructions. “There’s always a narrative in my head with whatever I’m working on,” Galtarossa told artnet News when asked to explain her installation. “I started thinking about the greenhouse as a source of heat and light—that’s why it’s an orange color. I saw it also as something that’s sacred, a symbol of our human qualities of cultivating and nurturing.”
Galtarossa, who often uses organic shapes and found materials in her work, wanted to create something that was in dialogue with the graphic lines and precious material of the silver Tiffany & Co. greenhouse. “When I pick materials for my work, I end up disassembling or using them in a salvaged way—so that it will be abstract but elegant,” the artist said. “It’s a delicate dance of material.”
The installations are on from April 15–April 22, 2018, at the Piazza Duomo store in Milan.
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