When an artist suddenly switches hats and digs enthusiastically into a new, unchartered métier, the results can be oddly uneven or dizzyingly satisfying. Happily, the latter is the case of a group of architects, artists and furniture designers who have recently broken out - with jazz hands, no less - onto the unfamiliar stage of jewellery design.
Coaxed out of their usual creative boxes by the Galerie Kreo, Paris' leading design gallery, contemporary furniture and industrial designers like Marc Newson, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Jaime Hayon, Hella Jongerius and Naoto Fukasawa, have all made jewellery, produced in limited editions, for the first time.
Jewellery designer Dominique Modiano and furniture designer Martin Szekely, who has collaborated in the past with Hermès, were the only two artists who had previously confronted the jewellery oeuvre.
The gallery also asked its artist friends, whose work they don't normally represent, to take part in the project: Constance Guisset, Tatiana Trouvé, Annette Messager, Fabrice Hyber, and Dominique Perrault all jumped on board. The brief to all 20 participants was, quite simply, to design a piece of jewellery to be worn around the neck. The rest was up to the artist.
While many chose to work in gold - the industry standard - some leapt into the creative freedom with hemp rope wood, rough diamonds or polished onyx. Regardless of the materials, the results - like necklaces that swing from the ears by Constance Guisset, or tiny gold threads tumbled into a mass of knots by Lee Ufan - were all original.
Currently part of a Galerie Kreo exhibition entitled 'Autour du Cou' or, Around the Neck, the pieces are offered in limited editions and will be on view until 19 January.