By Lauren Jade Hill
This week the Cartier showcase, Cartier in Motion, is set to open at the Design Museum, London. Curated by accomplished architect Norman Foster—the designer behind landmark structures such as the Millennium Tower and the Gherkin—and director of the Design Museum Deyan Sudjic, the exhibition promises to provide an insight into the evolution of this iconic brand.
Spurred by the museum’s acquisition of Cartier Santos and Tank wristwatches, Cartier in Motion looks into the journey this brand has taken from a design perspective, and how its evolution was determined by changes in society at the turn of the 20th century, from architecture and the arts to travel and aviation.
With more than 170 Cartier items within the exhibition, the showcase encompasses a collection of rare watches, along with a brass model of the Eiffel Tower depicting the hot air balloon Santos-Dumont designed and flew around the Eiffel Tower. A full-size replica of the aircraft he designed is also on display; it was this pioneer of aviation who Cartier made the Santos watch for in 1904.
Norman Foster. Image by Manolo Yllera
Six interlocking themes run throughout the exhibition: the evolution of Paris and its influence of Cartier shapes, Louis Cartier’s connection to Santos-Dumont among other pioneers, the birth of the modern wristwatch, accessories designed for a glamorous lifestyle, and the evolution of Cartier designs, as well as the craftsmanship behind Cartier items.
On the topic of curating the exhibition, Foster tells us: “I think it has expanded my world. The whole background of Cartier is one of fervent and innovation. There’s an inner beauty in how things are made and a pride taken in the inner workings you don’t see. The more digital our world is, the more appreciation there is for something tangible.”
Cartier in Motion will run from 25 May to 28 July 2017.