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SMEETS SPOT: The fashion world is quickly becoming familiar with the work of industrial designer Job Smeets, thanks to the Dutch fashion duo Viktor & Rolf. Smeets, who founded Studio Job in Amsterdam in 1998, is responsible not only for the whimsical charm jewelry used in the designers’ spring 2002 collection, but also the uncomfortable, though charming, bright blue sofa in their showroom that looks like it was beamed out of a cartoon world.

This story first appeared in the December 27, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Other designers are collecting Smeets’ massive wooden shelving units, which fit together like a child’s construction puzzle, and his housewares inspired by the gilded grails and mugs of the Middle Ages. Swarovski has tapped Smeets to participate in its chandelier design project, which he will show at the Maison & Object design fair in Paris in January, as well as some jewelry for spring 2003. But another project could substantially expand Smeets’ presence: He’s collaborating on the design of Viktor & Rolf’s first fragrance, being launched next year by L’Oréal.

LONDON TOWER, PART II: Known in London as the Erotic Gherkin, the Swiss Re Tower is the latest addition to the city’s skyline. Designed by Norman Foster and resembling a flame-shaped lightbulb, the building stands 590 feet tall and boasts a 360-degree view. It’s also considered to be London’s first environmentally progressive tall building. Located in The City, London’s financial district, the 500,000-square-foot structure gets wider as it rises from the ground, and then tapers at the top.

Experts say the tower’s comparatively narrow base helps reduce reflections, improves transparency and allows for greater natural light penetration, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Swiss Re, an insurance company, initially thought it would occupy the entire tower, but has since decided to rent only floors two to 18. The building will not be finished until the end of 2003.

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