Design Forum Lecture: Philip Michael Wolfson

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 5:30pm
Nunemaker Auditorium

Philip Michael Wolfson presents a lecture as part of the Department of Design's weekly Forum series. Free and open to the public.


Experimentation in the fusing of fine art and functional design issues is at the forefront in pushing boundaries in the way in which we inhabit and interact with our surroundings. The works of Philip Michael Wolfson encompass investigations from an architectural foundation, across the fields of sculpture and installation, experimental design, interactivity, film and art.

PHILIP MICHAEL WOLFSON, born 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of a NASA engineer.  He studied architecture at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York and at the Architectural Association, London, England, where he was mentored by Zaha Hadid.  After completing his studies he spent the next ten years as head of design in her studio. In 1991 Wolfson established his own studio in London, and in 1999 in Miami, and has worked throughout Europe and the USA on interiors, with a focus on functional sculptural and art in various mediums.  Works are shown at leading international art and design exhibitions, galleries, and public venues.

Wolfson’s creations present a fascination with and examination of the construct of space and forms, following on from those works of the early 20th century Modernist Movements. His inspiration also comes from elements of the Concrete Poetry movement and the socio-political aspects of Graffiti. His unique approach to functional sculpture, design and art is informed by the vigorous dynamics resulting from the fracture and fragmentation of form – layering and manipulating both 2 and 3 dimensional studies into fluid shapes and forms. Movement of light, shadow and reflection are an integral part of the seduction of the work which embraces static and dynamic models, shifting between the realm of objects and installations to that of purely artistic examination. Wolfson is prospecting new visual territories in the field of narrative object & space.

Many of the works now being commissioned are for use in the public realm as sculptures and interactive functional art.  Most notable are the SoundForm ROBERT for the restaurant at the Museum of Art & Design in NYC, and SoundForm FLUID, commissioned as the centerpiece of the promotion for the launch of LVMH Glenmorangie in the Far East.  Additionally, there are proposals for outdoor sculptures being carried out in the UK and the USA.


Works by Philip Michael Wolfson have been shown at, or are included in numerous international collections including the Soane Museum (London), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London. UK), the Foundation Cartier (Paris, FR), the Museum of Art & Design (New York,  USA) and the Price Tower Arts Center (Bartlesville, USA).  His designs are on display at renowned galleries (Pearl Lam Design Gallery, Shanghai; Sebastian + Barquet, New York; Industry Gallery, LA.), at high-profile design and art fairs (Art Basel, Design Miami, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan, TEFAF, Maastricht, Art15, Art London, Art Miami ) and thru auction houses including Christies and Phillips de Pury in London and New York.


Books featuring works:

Chaltets mit Stil; Knesebeck Verlag 2015

Heart & Home; Rizzoli 2014

Furniture by Architects; Images Publishing Group 2013

Design After Modernism; WW Norton & Co 2012

Once Upon a Chair; Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin 2009

Limited Edition; Birkhauser, Basel 2009

Desire; Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin 2008


Awards/Honorable Mentions:


2017 PRINCETON CONFERENCE-ZAHA HADID: PEDAGOGY AS PRACTICE; Early Years panel discussion member.

2012 GOOD DESIGN AWARD;  ‘Twisted X’ Desk - The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design & The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies 

2012 YAMANA GOLD “Passion to Perform” Art Competition - SHORT LIST FINALIST; ‘Liquid Gold’ Sculpture

2012 COMEX COLOUR TREND FORECAST 2014;  Invited as one of 12 Forecast Participants

2011 LVMH GLENMORANGIE CHINA/FAR EAST DESIGN CHALLENGE;  SoundForm FLUID –    Awarded Contract for the Design & Fabrication of the work of art to launch Glenmorangie in the Far East and China as the centerpiece of the campaign.

2010 URBAN CANVAS COMPETITION - SHORT LIST FINALIST;   ‘JazzLine’  - Competition for the design of artwork to be fabricated on construction hoarding for NYC building projects.