Reflections: Bodo Sperlein 16 May—7 June 2008 Designer Bodo Sperlein’s installation of mirrors and lights merges fantasy with design – he is influenced by nature, fantasy and storytelling, and many of the objects in this exhibition fuse their organic origins with new histories. This project is one of the occasional exhibitions of works of eminent designers held as part of England & Co’s program in recent years, including Thoughts on a Wall: Alan Fletcher (2002); Designs for Fragile Personalities in Anxious Times: Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby with Michael Anastassiades (2004); and Time Again: Daniel Weil (2005).

The main series of Sperlein’s mirror works incorporates wood that has become strangely and beautifully contorted: the wood has been cut from centuries-old trees all over the capital’s green spaces and evokes the city’s hidden dark corners and gardens. Scars and raised marks formed in these wood sections make natural frames, harvested for Sperlein’s alchemy. The mirrors set into these organic coves capture and reflect the viewer. Sperlein has given his reclaimed wood new life: as one-off objects which function both as art and as useable artifacts.

Sperlein’s Reflections project also takes inspiration from the sky. The large hemispheric frames of the Eclipse mirrors evoke planetary globes and the backlit mirror installation with reflective crystals suggest a night sky with a crystallized lunar surface. The Lladró Magic Forest light sculpture incorporates delicate fibre-optic strands that each emit a subtle glow, illuminating the delicate porcelain leaves that hang below. Together, the leaves appear as if scattered in a storm, the vertical strands creating an illusion of fluidity and movement. Magic Forest is installed above a mirror that gives the illusion of a pool in which the porcelain foliage is reflected and transformed.


BODO SPERLEIN was born in Germany and has been based in London since the late 1980s when he came to study 3-D design at Camberwell College of Art and evolved what he calls his ‘biomorphic’ aesthetic. His work as a designer has exerted a major influence on the ‘cult of the object’, as he has brought a contemporary sensibility to traditional products such as china, pewter, stone, jewellery and lighting, reinvigorating materials through contemporary designs.Sperlein has collaborated with numerous luxury brands including Mulberry, Agent Provocateur, Lladró and Swarovski. He has also designed fine bone china tableware for Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide. Sperlein’s creations are highly collectable, and are included in Munich’s prestigious Neue Samlung ceramics collection, the Crafts Council and British Design Council collections alongside many private collections of note.

His work has been widely exhibited both in the UK and internationally. Among numerous British institutions to display Sperlein’s work are the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and auction houses Sotheby’s and Bonhams. Solo shows have taken him from Breukelen in New York, to concept store Collete in Paris, to outdoor displays at Petrovsky Passage in Moscow, and to the Art Basel fair in Miami.

THE BOOK of the same title has been published to accompany the exhibition. Reflections includes The Orchard of a Thousand Trees, a specially commissioned story by the novelist Philippa Stockley, with illustrations by Therese Vandling. Copies can be ordered from the gallery, at £10 plus post & packaging.