24 October 2012
by Kendall Martin-Robbins
Last night I popped over the opening of In Tandem at the Soane at the Sir John Soane Museum, which is a collaboration between the Museum and the Royal College of Art, bringing exclusive designer jewellery to the Soane Shop. I was in for a visual delight of Ionic columns curved to make a necklace (something that certainly would have made Sir John Soane turn his grave due to his devoation to classicism), the ground plans to a coliseum transformed into hoop earrings, architectural 3-D printed necklaces and scarves inspired by marblework.
In Tandem at the Soane takes the creative talent of students and alumni from the Royal College of Art’s Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery (GSM&J) MA course, and translates their artistic responses to Soane’s eccentric house and collections into jewellery for sale in the newly designed Soane Shop. The designer-makers have developed a range of jewellery, giving visitors to the Museum the opportunity to see, and buy, the best work from tomorrow’s designers, inspired by one of London’s oldest and most loved museums.
In Tandem is an initiative by GSM&J Head of programme, Hans Stofer, and Senior Tutor, Michael Rowe, which aims to keep graduates connected through promoting innovative work, creating a platform for selling and a forum where discussion, mentoring and debate can flourish. In Tandem is curated by GSM&J graduates and lecturers, Christopher Thompson-Royds and Jasleen Kaur. Previous In Tandem events have included a Valentine-themed exhibition and installations in Bond Street and Knightsbridge.
Commenting on the collaboration, Thompson-Royds said:
"This initiative is a bold statement of intent by an inspiring museum. To offer visitors something other than the usual museum shop experience and to support young designers is to go out on a limb. This risk we feel has been rewarded by some great designs by the participants, which move forward ideas about what jewellery can and should be."
Having done a lot of work in international museums in South and Central Asia, where design students are not usually encouraged to visit their local museums as a source of inspiration, I am personally very excited by the initiative at the Soane. It's a wonderful scheme to help young designers find inspiration from the Museum, while promoting their talent and ushering a wider audience into the Museum. Certainly a two-way relationship. It's fantastic to see the Museum's awareness of the relevance of the art, architecture and design of the past in contemporary design. I hope that in addition to inspiring the students this initiative inspires museums and collections internationally to adopt similar programmes to connect with young designers and makers.
The In Tandem jewellery collection will be on display to the general public in the Museum from 24 October to 24 November 2012; selected pieces will be on sale in the Soane Shop from October or online at www.soane.org.