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Classics Reimagined
Evanna Ramly 
Since 1996, Royal Selangor has collaborated with London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to produced timeless creations imbued with historical provenance.
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Established in 1852, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art and design. Home to a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity, it holds many of the UK’s national collections.

Here, some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, as well as theatre and performance await to excite and inspire minds.

Since 1996, Royal Selangor has collaborated with V&A to produced timeless creations imbued with historical provenance. The perfect complement to modern living, the partnership continues with two new collections, Streamline and William Morris.

Streamline revisits the glitzy era of the Roaring Twenties as contemporary home décor. Inspired by the Art Deco movement that thrived during the decade, bold circular imagery evokes the geometric elegance of the abstract motifs favoured by Marion Dorn, an iconic 20th century textile designer whose works adorn The Berkeley, Claridge’s and The Savoy.

The collection comprises a valet tray, a serving tray, a trinket box, a pendant, a candle stand, a hip flask and a bottle chiller. These feature concentric circular forms sculpted on a bright pewter surface, bringing to mind the smooth polished surfaces that reflected countless glamorous parties in lavish homes, smoky jazz clubs and cool speakeasies.

Meanwhile, William Morris references the beauty of nature for its exquisite wine accessories, including a decanter, a bottle chiller, a corkscrew, a wine funnel, a bottle stopper, a wine pourer and a foil cutter. It pays homage to the titular 19th century English textile designer, artist, writer and socialist associated with the English Arts and Crafts Movement. The grape and vine motif is derived from the ornamental borders for The History of Godefrey of Boloyne (1893) and The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (1896) by his own Kelmscott Presse.

 

Sizeland praises the wit, originality and clever twist in the collections

“V&A is proud to have such a long-standing relationship with Royal Selangor. Our research team has worked closely with the design team to develop successful collections over the years and we never cease to be amazed by the exceptional quality they achieve,” says Lauren Sizeland, head of business development and licensing for V&A.

 

“The hand-crafting techniques and attention to detail are really exquisite and a superb alignment with V&A’s exacting standards. It’s interesting to see how some designs are enduring and have continued to be successful year after year.”

According to Sizeland, the museum focuses on finding brand licensees that create innovative products designed with flair and originality, made with care and attention. “Products that are worth buying and cherishing, just like the Royal Selangor range. Pattern is a hallmark of V&A so we look for licensees who have the skill and confidence to apply patterns from our collections,” she explains.

“A sense of wit and originality is also important; our products should surprise and charm, combining ideas in unexpected ways to add a clever twist. The way in which products are presented and promoted is something we care about greatly. From the smallest label or swing tag to brochures and online features, and each product needs to be aligned with our brand style.”

William Morris is a tribute to the titular 19th century icon

She describes the process as immensely collaborative. “The designers need to explore the archive, finding inspiration from the collections, and selecting relevant patterns for the season they are working towards. There is generally a lot of dialogue and back-and-forth before any concepts are drawn up. We also work closely with a trend agency to ensure we’re presenting design inspiration that will be relevant for the launch timing of a new range.”

Looking ahead to 2018, Sizeland reveals the major focus will be on the Asian market. “I’m always open-minded and keen to explore potential new opportunities across product categories and territories. As such we’re also hoping to make some headway in the Chinese market, where we have enjoyed success in fine jewellery, but will now explore several new categories such as homeware and apparel,” she shares.



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 257.