Conceived by partners Sion and Tiffany Phillips, jewellery brand Studio Uribe is a bold amalgamation of their respective upbringings in Wales and Chile, and of their professional backgrounds in advertising and fashion.
‘The starting point for our brand was to make a blend, a mélange of our tastes,’ says Tiffany, having decamped to Paris to present their latest collection during the show circuit. ‘We’re a couple, we’re both designers, and we have very different tastes. In a way, I’m very eccentric, while Sion is very graphic. The mix of those two is the foundation for Uribe.’
A look at the three previous Uribe collections that they’ve created seasonally over the past year and a half, reveal a focus on contrasts, movement and bold shapes, and a very conceptual approach to design.
Each collection starts with a list of the things that surround and influence them: from movies to music, to a colour picked up from a documentary. That list is then transformed into a private mood board on Pinterest. ‘We spend about three to four weeks doing that and fine-tuning exactly what our concept is going to be. This part is really the two of us together.’
Uribe’s S/S 2016 summer collection, though it involves colourful spherical designs and spinning beads much like the previous A/W 2015 collection, feels a lot more abstract than those space-inspired pieces. ‘This collection was a real departure from that,’ agrees Sion. ‘This is more grown up.’
Taking cues from Carol Bove and Barbara Hepworth sculptures, Tiffany and Sion explored the idea of dissecting their signature shapes. They returned to structural pieces that are functional, but are at the same time dynamic. Surprise tactile facets make sure there is always something to look at. An earring that is flat from the front reveals moving beads from the back; a bracelet hinge is an integral part of the design and the toggle fastenings at the back of Uribe necklaces are unique, identifiable elements of the Uribe aesthetic.
‘You have to look a bit closer to see the details. We want to keep the decoration hidden. It’s like when you buy a beautiful jacket and you look inside and the lining is really something else. That’s design,’ continues Tiffany. ‘You really want to take each piece and consider every corner, every millimetre.’