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This floating, crystal-encrusted branch has a fairytale-like magic. Dutch designer Tord Boontje (born 1968) took nature as his point of departure for this contemporary chandelier commissioned by Austrian crystal manufacturer Swarovski. The artist’s childhood memory of a flowering tree frozen by an untimely ice storm inspired Night Blossom Chandelier‘s craggy form, which is made luminous by tiny blue LED lights.

Boontje is one of a group of designers who reacted to the prevalent minimalist designs of the 1980s and 1990s with romantic and self-consciously decorative furnishings. In contrast to the modernist interest in standardization and industrial manufacturing, these designers often worked in limited edition, using traditional handcrafts and unusual or luxurious materials. When designing for mass production, they adapted new technologies to imbue objects with a human touch.

Night Blossom Chandelier was recently installed in Gallery 131. Its acquisition in 2006 was generously funded by Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of Cara McCarty, the Museum’s first Grace L. Brumbaugh and Richard E. Brumbaugh Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

Tord Boontje, Dutch, born 1968; made by Swarovski, Tyrol, Austria, founded 1892; Night Blossom Chandelier, 2003; glass, LED lights, and lacquered steel; 40 1/2 x 57 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given by Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of Cara McCarty 1:2006; © Tord Boontje, Design for Swarovski

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