Nan Nan Liu (born 1982)

Table sculpture


Strips of 925 sterling silver wire, spot-soldered together to form a bowl. Height 16.9 cm, length 24.3 cm. Marked: Nan Nan Liu, London.

Nan Nan Liu is best known for her innovative, graceful sculptures which translate flowing organic form into silver. Our specially-commissioned table sculpture from 2016 for the exhibition, Made For the Table, is soldered from silver wire. She took a series of photographs of moving water on which to base her design. Initially she worked by layering paper bonded with strong glue to create three-dimensional forms, exploring the very special surface of the bonded ridges. She wanted to translate both form and texture into metal by building up single layers of silver in an organic manner, allowing the form to move and breathe. The finished piece is lovely to handle as it rocks gently when placed on a surface before settling at its point of balance.

In 2019, the maker generously gave the paper model to the Company. It is an exquisite work of art in its own right. The two pieces together tell us so much more than the silver alone, and the pairing will be particularly valuable both for teaching our apprentices at the Goldsmiths’ Centre and for public display. It is also a document for her innovative technique and the way in which her work is evolving as she now makes her models in wire: “a lot of design is happening during the making.”


You can see Nan Nan Liu’s paper model in the context of other new acquisitions to the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection in 2020–2021 here.

Nan Nan Liu’s Oyster Box in the V&A is similarly built up from layers of silver wire to create an organic form.

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