‘Sculptural Distortion’: Daniel Arsham’s $59,000 Eroded Tiffany & Co. Padlock Stuns
In terms of modern collectible artwork, listed at the top of the pieces most in demand are artist Daniel Arsham’s Future Relics. This collective body of work depicts everyday objects—like cameras, cell phones, and even a basketball—as items in a fictitious setting centred on a post-apocalyptic Earth. The items are all cast in volcanic ash, crystal, or other materials and then given disintegrating, singed edges. In short, they look like artifacts of a forgotten time, which is precisely why revered jewellery brand Tiffany & Co. tapped Arsham for a new piece. The legendary designer tasked the artist with revamping its Padlock series, and Arsham delivered a stunning piece that nearly outshines the bangle that accompanies it.
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The padlock design is an integral part of Tiffany & Co.’s history and harkens back to the jewellery brand’s early days in the late 1800s when it offered functioning padlocks to its clients. Since that time, the padlock design has been used in bracelets, brooches, and key rings.
Simultaneously, the aforementioned Tiffany & Co. x Daniel Arsham bangle arrives in 18k white gold and is set with over 93 diamonds and 28 tsavorites (a green legacy gemstone produced by Tiffany and Co. and introduced in 1974), and features two U-shaped elements to create the padlock look.
Described by Tiffany & Co. as ‘a work of sculptural distortion’, the latest revival continues the high-end manufacturer’s departure from the usual programming. Over the past few years, Tiffany & Co. has collaborated on a range of unique pieces, from the Patek Philippe Nautilus to the Rugby Ball and accompanying case.
This time around, Arsham contributed the padlock case, which has his signature disintegrating look, a finish that reportedly takes him 400 hours to produce due to the meticulous process employed. Of course, the case—the parts not eroded away—features Tiffany & Co.’s iconic blue hue.
“It’s very personal to me, but there’s also an element of history in there—a link between generations of craft, between function and design, between craftsmanship and beauty,” Arsham said. “These are the elements that make Tiffany so unique, the elements that allow it to consistently hone the ‘sweet spot’ between heritage and modernity. I wanted to create an artwork to celebrate that.”
The padlock case and bangle come with a custom-designed crate with metal hardware, alongside a pair of dual-branded white gloves for handling. The set is priced at USD$59,000 and is limited to just 99 pieces.