What is Luxury?
What is Luxury? interrogated how luxury is made and understood. Luxury has a long history of controversy. More recently, the increase in prominence and growth of luxury brands against the backdrop of social inequality has raised new questions about what the term means to people today. Changes in culture and communication have also stimulated interest in less tangible forms of luxury, such as the desire for space and time.
What is Luxury? framed work by designers, makers and artists using a selection of terms in order to engage with and expand upon current debate. It addressed the production of exceptional objects, which demonstrate an extraordinary investment in time and handmaking. It explored how attitudes to luxury are shaped by cultural concerns and personal dreams. It challenged preconceived notions of value and provides an opportunity for thinking about the future of luxury in the 21st century.
Luxury production represents an investment in time. This applies not only to the time spent making an object but also to the process of perfecting skills. Makers of luxury are inspired by passion and curiosity for the intricate nature of objects, the potential of materials, and complex techniques. This motivation often exists beyond market demands and can require an acceptance of risk.
Making luxury is not concerned with practical solutions but with the extraordinary, non-essential and exclusive. Mastery of a craft and exceptional expertise are demonstrated by outstanding precision, attention to detail and remarkable finishes. Such quality is achieved by challenging and broadening established standards of craftsmanship and accepted categories of design. The resulting work combines high levels of innovation with a respect for craft traditions.