Feverishly experimental, Berlin-based Milena Kling grounds her warmly paletted glasswork in the alchemy of natural phenomena. Metamorphosed from copper filigree molds and pleated copper sheets interacting with mouth-blown glass, her breathtakingly unique vases and assorted objects transmute metal into treasure that blazes with raw textures and artisanal panache.
Born in Berlin in 1983, Kling studied Product & Process Design at the University of Arts, Berlin, graduating in 2012. Her thesis work, “THE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE,” includes the first iterations of her Raw and Ruby glass collections. The project was nominated for both 2013 Talente and German Design awards and showcased in several group and solo exhibitions, including at Munich’s Pinakothek Der Moderne.
Amid and after her studies, Kling extended the breadth of her craft in a variety of high-profile international work experiences: contributing product and graphic design for Tokyo’s NOSIGNER (2009-2010); conceiving interiors and large-scale installations at Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio in London (2011); and working as both designer and project manager for Berlin artist Sarah Illenberger (2011-present). This last partnership, with Illenberger, has proved a major platform for Kling’s burgeoning talent, leading to installation projects for renowned brands like Hermés, The New York Times, AD, Vogue, and Zeit Magazin, among others.
Since 2012, Kling has maintained her eponymous studio in Berlin, where she continues her material- and chemistry-driven bespoke contemporary glasswork. Outside of “THE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE,” her standout collections include The Alchemist & Co (2015), which immortalize the ephemera that is Kling’s signature in crystal glass that gleams with the deep-crimson imprints of copper; Raw (2016), an ongoing update of her explorations into highly delicate copper-molded vases; and Circle (2016), which features stunning water glasses, distinctly shaped and engraved by their manufacture in finely pleated copper sheets.
In each year of her activity, Kling has been invited to participate in international exhibitions. A selection of salient showcases includes, among others, London Design Week (2014, 2015); IMM Cologne (2014, 2015); Beijing Design Week (2015); Milan Design Week (2016, 2018); Los Angeles’s Dwell on Design (2016); Pinakothek Der Moderne’s Die Neue Sammlung in Munich (2017); and Design Beijing (2018).