Chatsworth House exhibition is a “collision of past and present”


An exhibition at Chatsworth House including designers including Michael Anastassiades, Faye Toogood and Formafantasma, features in this video produced by Dezeen for the stately home.

Called Mirror Mirror: Reflections on Design at Chatsworth, the exhibition brings together a collection of furniture and objects displayed throughout and responding to Chatsworth House and its gardens.

In total, 16 international designers and artists created pieces that respond to the interiors of the building.

Interior of Chatsworth House featuring staircase and benches
The exhibition introduces new art pieces and objects into the house and garden

Some responded by sourcing materials from the property itself, while others focussed on themes and ideas taken from decorations within the interiors.

“The designers of the exhibition have responded to Chatsworth in all sorts of fascinating ways,” said co-curator of the exhibition Glenn Adamson.

“Throughout you really see this kind of conversation between the present and the past.”

Jay Sae Jung Oh's throne-like seat wrapped in leather made from musical instruments
Jay Sae Jung Oh designed a throne using musical instruments

The exhibition continues Chatsworth House’s 500-year-long history of working with leading artists and designers and collecting an extensive collection of art and objects.

“An artist’s new work can create a new way of looking at these spaces,” said Chatsworth House Trust director Jane Marriott.

“It can capture their imaginations and hopefully inspire them to explore Chatsworth in a different light.”

Faye Toogood's monolithic stone furniture in the chapel space
Toogood’s monolithic furniture creates a pensive space within the exhibition

British designer Toogood took over Chatsworth’s chapel and adjoining Oak Room. As a nod to the historical use of the space as a place of worship and gathering, she created an installation of monolithic furniture made from bronze and stone.

The sculptural forms were designed to evoke ecclesiastical structures and to reflect the local landscape.

“These objects give a sense of meditative calm, a sense of massiveness or monumentality that feels appropriate to the space,” Adamson said.

Joris Laarman's benches situated in the gardens of Chatsworth House
Dutch designer Joris Laarman designed a series of benches for the exhibition

Two stone benches by Dutch designer Joris Laarman made from locally sourced gritstone , which was the material used to build the house itself, were placed in Chatsworth House’s gardens.

The surfaces of the benches were carved with undulating patterns in which moss and lichen have been planted and will continue to grow over time.

Other objects in the exhibition include a throne-like seat wrapped in leather made from musical instruments by Jay Sae Jung Oh, a fibrous cabinet designed by Fernando Laposse, and sinuous steam-wood sculptures by Irish furniture maker Joseph Walsh.

Agave cabinet by Fernando Laposse
Laposse’s fluffy cabinet is made from agave plant fibres

Another section of the exhibition, which occupy Chatsworth’s Sculpture Gallery built in the early 19th century, features pieces by British designer Samuel Ross.

Ross’s pieces were designed to echo the surrounding sculptures, mimicking their form to invite viewers to imagine the body that would recline on them. The designer has used a material palette of stone and marble to further reflect the sculptures within the gallery.

Samuel Ross's sculptural objects
Chatsworth’s collection contains art and design pieces spanning 4,000 years

“It’s a kind of collision of past and present, of the artisanal with the technological, the classical with the industrial,” Adamson said.

“It’s a great example of how the show in general tries to talk across generations, across centuries.”

Mirror Mirror: Reflections on Design at Chatsworth is on display at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire until 1 October 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Photography is courtesy of the Chatsworth House Trust.

Partnership content

This video was produced by Dezeen for Chatsworth House as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen’s partnership content here.


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