Curious Trends


Designer curiosities: antique style glass domes

To coincide with the 2011 London Design Festival, Royal College of Art students are displaying their work in Fendi’s Sloane Street store until 25th September. “The collaboration represents a cross-pollination between the worlds of fashion and design, illustrating the deep affinity that exists between creativity, function, research, experimentation, heritage and future.” Samuel Weller and Imme van de Haak have deconstructed the Fendi bag to reveal hidden components such as zips and rope, and are displaying these sculptural objects in Victorian glass bell jars. But are the bags the object of our attention in this instance? The Victorian style glass dome seems to have become something of a collectable curiosity in its own right:

We’ve seen everything from old knives and forks, dolls, anatomical specimens, medical models, religious icons, hand embroidered flowers, glass sculptures, jewellery displays, candles, natural curiosities such as shells and taxidermy, old radio equipment, children’s games - and even retro cleaning materials in Victorian style glass domes recently.

All types of glass domes and globes have been regaining popularity. Neil Conley’s Snow Globe (seen at Portobello Dock) is a series o snow globes created in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The snow globes embody the throwaway, novelty plastic gifts that have become one of the oil industries many bugbears. Each globe contains a hand carved (by Conley) miniature species that has been directly affected by the disaster.

“It is hoped that whilst the objects provide a rare twist in product context, the application of luxurious materials will provide a tasteless aesthetic reminiscent of executive gifts – potentially as a belated Christmas present for BP bosses, as a reminder that our planet’s resources are for life… not just for Christmas." 18% of the profits from each sale is donated to the ongoing cleanup of the area.

Many others will opt for the casing alone, as the demand for designer domes is likely to be great this Christmas. Original antique examples may well hold their value, but vintage style glass domes are rapidly becoming a mass produced commodity.

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