Her admiration for American artist Jeff Koons’ work prompted Karina Cheung of Bika to use pieces from the Bernardaud-Koons porcelain collection to create a childlike birthday party setting for grown-ups.
Born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955, Jeff Koons is one of the most important living artists. Since his emergence in the 1980s, he has blended the concerns and methods of Pop and Conceptual art with popular culture to create his own unique iconography – at times controversial, always engaging.
Koons has collaborated with Bernardaud to create a porcelain collection based on many of his most famous works. Notable among these is his Celebration series of large-scale sculptures and paintings of balloon dogs, Valentine hearts, diamonds and Easter eggs, conceived in 1994.
Her admiration for Koons’ work prompted Karina Cheung and her design team at Bika to deploy many pieces from the Bernardaud-Koons collection to create a stunning table setting for Prestige. “I call it ‘Koons’ Birthday Paradise’,” she says of her unusual concept for a birthday party.
Karina’s biggest inspiration was Koons’ Celebration art pieces, especially his Balloon Dog. The Celebration artworks reference certain times of the year, such as holidays and birthdays. What else could suggest the cheer of children’s parties more eloquently than a colourful balloon, twisted into the instantly recognisable form of a dog?
Plates and tea and co ee cups came from the Koons Banality Series. “I was always intrigued by porcelain, by both the economic and the sexual aspect of the material,” the artist has said. “Porcelain shrinks in the oven; therefore, there is a tightness to the material. Porcelain was the emperor’s material, but today it has been democratised and everybody can enjoy porcelain.”
The cutlery was taken from the Puiforcat Guethary Stainless Steel Flatware Collection. Parisian silversmith Puiforcat is one of the legendary names in European silver craftsmanship. This stainless steel model is a reissue of a 1926 Jean Puiforcat design.
For the centrepiece, Bika chose Koons’ Split-Rocker vase for Bernardaud. This is based on a piece inspired by a rocking toy for children that was divided in two: one head of a dinosaur and a second head, of a pony. The original Split-Rocker is a monumental sculpture with a total surface area of 1,043 sq ft.
Set beside the Split-Rocker vase was a crystal vase from St. Louis’ Folia collection. All pieces in the cross-disciplinary collection echo the forest surrounding the Saint-Louis manufacture. It was there that designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance decided to combine the radiance of crystal with the strength of ash wood. Folia is a tribute to the leaves of the Moselle forest, as well as an ode to creative folly.
Bika also collaborated with Beau, a bakery project of pastry chef Talita Setyadi. Beau Carrot Cake was selected as the birthday cake, along with Matcha Choux, Blackout Choux, Wagyu Pastrami Smørrebrød, and Astrid Entremet.
“Everyone must have had their fantasy and desire as a child to have their birthday celebrated in a big, big way – filled up with cakes, toys, food and other fun things,” Karina explains of her setting. “Now, as adults, we tend to forget how simple those wishes were. But it’s only fun while it lasts.
“It’s good to build up that memory of our childhood again, and to put up a good scene and feel special to celebrate our birthday – in a way that kids do, but certainly with more edge, sophistication and style now – just to remind ourselves that we’re growing up, but not growing old.”