The man behind Mateo New York has a self-confessed obsession with modern art and architecture. He invests this passion back into his own practice, and his refined SS17 collection bares the mark of a designer who has studied the contemporary creative greats.
Ahead of his own patch of prime property opening in New York, Matthew 'Mateo' Harris reflects upon the influences that have played the largest part in shaping his aesthetic. 'I adore artists such as Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky and architects such as Norman Foster and the late Zaha Hadid,' he explains. Indeed, Hadid's signature, gravity-defying structures are recreated in his swinging, sculptural earrings, and Foster's clean lines can be read in the simplicity of Mateo's fine rings, as seen in the semi-spherical acorn-like examples below.
Above all other inspirations, for the new collection Mateo draws upon Calder. One of his personal favourites from the range, the 14kt 'Enamel Mobile Installation' earrings, 'are just a work of art,' he explains. Infused with a palette of Kadinsky's colours, these statement earrings are seen in Mateo's newly appointed flagship, directly underneath one of Calder's renowned chandeliers, making the connection between the two pieces difficult to ignore.
Fittingly, the store feels like an exclusive gallery, and each item is displayed as art works would be. Designed by Mateo himself to ensure harmony between the jewellery and its setting, the 300 sq ft space employs a monochrome colour pattern, helping the glinting jewellery - particularly the vibrantly coloured pieces like the 'Enamel Mobile' earrings - to catch the eye.
The new flagship is located where Nolita meets Soho. Neighbors include Steven Alan, Aesop, and Rag and Bone
Not all pieces in the new collection are based on a particular artist or structure - some were dreamt up on the spot. The 'Suspended Diamond Circ' earrings, for example, 'were loosely inspired by an unknown light fixture I caught a glimpse of when visiting an interior design expo,' Mateo says of his rare ability to translate fleeting moments of insight into something wearable.
The joy of this collection is that instead of drawing on just one influence, Mateo draws on many, without loosing track of his own visual DNA. This is likely down to the fact that is was all sketched in one sitting, while vacationing in Mykonos and Crete over the summer. 'My creative process is very organic,' he explains. 'I must truly be inspired before I can start drawing. I always want to make something new and different while staying true to myself.'