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Van Cleef and Arpels exhibition at London's Design Museum
The Art of Movement, Van Cleef and Arpels. All images © KALORY Photo and Video /
The Art of Movement, Van Cleef and Arpels. All images © KALORY Photo and Video /

The Art of Movement is part of a 2022 celebration in London that began with the French jewellery brand’s Dance Reflections Festival in March and will follow on from its participation at the Masterpiece Fair in June and July.

The Art of Movement features nearly 100 creations from the Van Cleef & Arpels archive collection, plus numerous historical documents, gouache illustrations and lender masterpieces. It is an extensive showcase that is the first of its kind in the UK.

Van Cleef & Arpels is famed for its artistry, craftsmanship and pieces of high jewellery that impart movement into precious materials. This exhibition displays emblematic pieces alongside new acquisitions and historical pieces that reflect lifestyles of days gone by. Together they show the evolution and reflection of French elegance over the decades since the Maison was founded in 1906. 

Van Cleef & Arpels has constantly blended the excellence of its high jewellery savoir-faire with a great delicacy of vision – in order to imbue the most precious materials with lightness and dynamism.

The visitor’s journey is divided into four themes: Nature Alive, Elegance, Dance and Abstract Movements. Each highlights a facet of movement explored by the Maison since its foundation in 1906.

To display this rare set of creations, the scenography echoes the theme of movement. To welcome visitors at the entrance, a floating matte ribbon takes the shape of an ethereal flower and unfolds to guide visitors on their journey throughout the exhibition. This shape is inspired by the Silhouette Flower clip, an emblematic design imagined by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s. ​ 

The four themes explored by the Maison are given pride of place thanks to a unique setting: inspired by the world of couture, each showcase is entirely made of pleated fabric and assembled on a vertical floor-to-ceiling support. Like abstract paintings, it attracts the eye and kindles a thoughtful dialogue with the jewels, the textile folds and curves echoing the designs of the pieces.

Nicolas Bos President & CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, said,

“Whether it is artistic, mechanical or first dreamed before being drawn and masterly rendered in precious materials, movement has always captivated and still fascinates Van Cleef & Arpels.

Capturing the ephemeral has become one of the Maison’s ultimate quests throughout its history. Such a tradition is today demonstrated for the first time in Great Britain in collaboration with the Design Museum”.

Tim Marlow, Director and CEO of the Design Museum, said,

“We are delighted to be able to showcase Van Cleef & Arpels’ remarkable collection at the Design Museum. We celebrate design in all its forms and this new exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity for UK audiences to enjoy and explore the exquisite craftsmanship that has gone into their work for over a century.”

About Van Cleef & Arpels
Founded at Paris’ 22 Place Vendôme in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels came into being following Estelle Arpels’ marriage to Alfred Van Cleef in 1895. Over the decades, the excellence and creativity of the High Jewelry Maison established its reputation across the world. Whether inspired by nature, couture, dance or imaginary worlds, the Maison opens the gate to a timeless universe of beauty and harmony. The headquarters of Van Cleef & Arpels remains in Place Vendome to this day, but the Maison now has boutiques in every corner of the globe.

About the Design Museum
The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over five million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London. Leading architect John Pawson converted the interior of the 1960s modernist building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programmes.

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