This short film, made by the Victoria and Albert Museum, was first shown to visitors at TEFAF Maastricht 2020.
Featuring Plowden & Smith Senior Furniture Conservator Oliver White, and shot in part at our London studios, the film gives an insight into the complex project to restore and redisplay Frank Lloyd Wright’s (1867-1959) office for Edgar J. Kaufmann.
The Kaufmann Office (c.1937) is one of the most important twentieth-century objects in the V&A’s collection, and it is the most complete and original interior by the great American architect to survive outside the United States.
In recognition of its importance, the V&A Museum has been awarded one of only two TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund grants to support the cleaning and restoration of the entire Kaufmann Office, ensuring the stability of its structure and allowing it to go back on public display.
Much of the restoration work is being carried out by Plowden & Smith.
Plowden & Smith’s Senior Furniture Conservator, Oliver White will be conservation cleaning and restoring the wooden interior elements of the Kaufmann Office, including the panelled walls, ceiling, freestanding and fitted furniture; whilst the V&A’s inhouse textiles conservation team will be conserving the original office carpets and upholstery.
Christopher Wilk, the V&A’s American-born keeper of furniture, textiles and fashion and Frank Lloyd Wright expert, recalls the popularity of the office when it was last on public display (from 1993 to 2005), describing it as “a mecca for architects to come to”.
The Kaufmann Office was presented to the V&A in the mid-1970s by Kaufmann Jr. Once the restoration is complete, office will go on public display in the V&A’s new Collection and Research Centre, due to open in 2023. One of two new V&A public venues currently under construction in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Kaufmann Office is set to become one of the highlights of this new V&A East complex.