What is Luxury?

There’s still time to find out the definitive explanation of what luxury entails – the fascinating “What is Luxury?” exhibition is on at the V&A Museum in London until 27th September. Baroque Travel has all the details


The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in partnership with Britain’s Craft’s Council, has compiled a captivating exhibition on the subject of “What is luxury?”, that covers the different notions of luxury as well as how this definition has changed over time. The exhibition, which runs through to 27th September, challenges the perceptions of luxury as we know it today.


The exhibition’s displays answer the question of how luxury is perceived now, in the 21st Century, compared to in previous ages when it constituted the possession of precious items that had material value. Today, society has evolved to include experiences as being luxurious. Or has it? What is luxury defined as it is now, and how has this perception changed over the centuries? Spending time at the V&A exhibition will answer these questions as well as pose other questions, to engage visitors in an open-ended debate, and give them the chance to reflect on their personal perceptions about what value and luxury mean today, and what they will mean in the future.


The debate is a fascinating one. Luxury, the exhibition shows us, has a history of controversy, and with luxury brands becoming more prominent these days, the question of its definition has changed along with changes in culture and communication. For instance, free time has become a luxurious commodity, as has spaciousness in terms of living and working conditions.


The current debate is demonstrated through an extraordinary range of products and includes the making of these products, the skills required to produce them, the intricacy required in putting them together and the complex techniques used to create them. All of these aspects are used to create something that epitomises exclusivity, and the extraordinary and non-essential aspects of the piece. Of course it takes exceptional expertise and mastery to craft an item that can be considered luxurious and the items on display, of which there are more than 100, display exceptional levels of innovation and mastery.

The exhibition features a number of fascinating displays, some of them quite arbitrary. You’ll find everything ranging from an 18th Century Portuguese gold crown that’s encrusted with emeralds, diamonds and rubies to a modern chandelier created by Netherlands design studio Studio Drift, from dandelion seeds, bronze wire and LED lights. Not only do these items show how our concept of luxury has changed, but also how our perception of luxury has changed to include creativity, time and resourcefulness.

The displays portray a return to hand craftsmanship of old as a definition of luxury compared to mass manufacture, and include the idea of the length of time required to make something.


Displays include an installation called “Time for Yourself” that portrays the luxury of getting lost by displaying a compass spinning in random directions and a watch with no dial. Of course, design and creativity are all part of what makes an item luxurious and this is also featured.


If you’d like to attend this extremely interesting exhibition, let Baroque Travel arrange everything for you, including flights, hotel accommodation and tickets to the V&A. Contact us right away, request@baroquetravel.com