Product+Furniture Designer (1968-)
GEORG BALDELE is a designer-sculptor who combines industrial materials with hand-working techniques to create exquisite installations. Born in Austria, he moved to London in 1996 to study at the Royal College of Art.
One of the new generation of London-based designers to emerge in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Georg Baldele works on the cusp of design, sculpture and craft to create exquisitely intricate lights and light installations.
Born in 1968 in Villach, Austria, he attended the College of Mechanical Engineering in Klagenfurt before studying product design at the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. Among the guest professors was Ron Arad, the Israeli-born, British-based designer and architect. When he left the Vienna Academy in 1996, Baldele moved to London to study furniture design at the Royal College of Art. When the professorship of furniture design came up, Baldele petitioned for Arad to be appointed. Probably coincidentally, Arad was given the post and taught Baldele again during his second year at the RCA.
In 1998, the year he left the RCA, Baldele exhibited Fly Candle Fly, an installation of wax candles suspended on such fine customised steel wire that they appeared to be flying through the air, at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Originally designed in 1996, Fly Candle Fly was put into production by Ingo Maurer, the celebrated German lighting designer.
Fly Candle Fly’s magical quality was recaptured in Buona Sera and Caveman, the 1999 series of lights Baldele made from giant rolls of the laminated paper tape usually used in transformer production. He made each light by painstakingly sculpting yards of paper tape into towering sculptures which glowed lighter or darker depending on the thickness of the coiled paper.
Baldele has exhibited extensively at the Saatchi Gallery and Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Museum für Kunsthandwerk in Frankfurt and Arc-en-Rêve in Bordeaux. When he participated in Stealing Beauty at the ICA in London in 1999, the exhibition’s curator, Claire Catterall wrote: “Georg Baldele likes to create order out of chaos. Seeing himself in a playground of materials, technologies and processes, Baldele likes to explore the possibilities, mixing and matching the different elements of design, but always bringing things together in a surprisingly simple manner.”
Baldele has since developed Niagara, a boxy fountain of translucent white strips that evokes early 1960s glass lights, and has the Conic light, his first piece destined for mass production, for Habitat. Much of his work consists of one-off commissions for private clients and large scale installations for Selfridge’s department store, the Bloomberg media group and a chandelier project for Swarovski.