‘I’ve always been fascinated by modernist design – it was a period of groundbreaking change when designers decided to break away from embellished design and to develop something more simple, more refined, which resulted in extraordinary sculptural everyday objects,’ says jewellery designer Estelle Dévé, who launched her eponymous brand, Dévé, during lockdown in 2021.
With a focus on subverted simplicity, her clean jewellery design brings a sculptural sensuality to classic pieces. ‘I find designing simple things much more difficult than something embellished, and I’m really excited when I develop designs and get to the stage where I find that tipping point between simple and interesting.’
Modernist jewellery designs by Dévé
Coils of gold vermeil and sterling silver earrings take inspiration from Le Corbusier’s spirals, while the ‘Non-Conformist’ hoops look to the asymmetry of Eileen Gray’s ‘Non Conformist’ armchair. Fluidly drawn rings bring to life Keiji Uematsu’s undulating take on the relationship between object and space, while the ‘Neo Concrete Movement’ ring pays tribute to the emotional and tactile silhouettes proposed by Lygia Pape.
‘I create products that transcend trends and seasonality, and focus instead on building a range that people will still want to wear ten years from now. In terms of the fabrication, it means that the core materials and manufacturing process follow stringent standards. I want the customer to know that when they purchase one of my products, we have considered both the planet and the people who manufacture them,’ says Dévé. The jewellery is crafted mostly in recycled silver and fair mined gold vermeil, with a focus on fair working conditions and manufacturing methods.
‘Sustainability and ethical trading informs the decisions I take as a business, as a designer and most of all which partners and factories I choose to align with,’ Dévé adds.
‘This means that I am somewhat limited in the materials and techniques I develop. The factory I currently work with specialises in silver and inlay but not in other techniques that I might have wanted to develop. So I have to find ways around or cancel designs altogether because they’re not capable of executing them. But in a way I find this challenge exciting: it forces me to approach things differently and to play to their strength, rather than trying to push them to make something they’re not comfortable with.’
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Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.
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