"It was a strong ornament," he said. "Suddenly anything was possible. I could see this as an incredibly positive thing."
Two years later, the Swarovski crystal company invited Boontje to rethink the conventional chandelier for a high-profile exhibition in Milan. His 200-light Blossom fixture attracted unreserved praise. The huge original is preserved in a video on his Web site, www.tordboontje.com. A smaller version with 84 LED lights costs $25,000 at Moss. Simpler, mass-produced fixtures based on garlands of metal and paper flowers draped around a light bulb gained Boontje a spot in a Victoria & Albert exhibition last year.
Boontje's feathery black hanging lamp illuminates a space that includes Witch, foreground, his chair of black leather paillettes.
(Photos Helayne Seidman For The Washington Post)
"I am not the Garland man," he cautioned, referring to his popular and inexpensive chandelier. "In terms of quantities sold, it is important. But it's only one small part of who I am."
On Tuesday night, New Yorkers lined up outside 152 Greene St., waiting to squeeze into the Moss Gallery. Inside, vases covered in white paper bloomed with origami-like flowers. A rough wooden table was decorated with a pattern of nail heads that swirled into a floral motif. So did appliqued crystals on the floor, which Swarovski sells as stick-on wall ornaments.
While most of Boontje's work is designed on a computer and produced by high-tech lasers and sophisticated industrial machines, the feathery, black Come Rain Come Shine fixture is made by hand at the Coopa-Roca women's cooperative, a 20-year-old economic venture in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown.
The signed chandelier, which is being offered for $6,700, had been carefully hung to illuminate a glass-topped table decorated with a scene from Boontjeland. Under the light, the fairy-tale motif cast a shadow on the bare floor, providing an illusory temporary carpet.
The Moss exhibition continues through March 20. The finality of its title adds drama, but fans need not fear. It signals the last act in a year-long trilogy. The designer's narrative will continue, as of next month, from a new studio in the silk-making region of France.
"I like sharing things," Boontje said. "If I enjoy something, maybe others will enjoy it, too."