Jean Nouvel’s 53W53 tower inspires a titanium necklace
Anna Hu’s Sky Tower Jadeite necklace links Western and Eastern culture in an architecturally imposing tribute
The distinctive silhouette of Jean Nouvel’s 53W53 tower – which is soon to be the new residence and home studio for Anna Hu’s eponymous jewellery brand – is already inspiring the New York-based jeweller.
Hu has just unveiled the Sky Tower Jadeite necklace in titanium, which translates the tower’s structural core into a geometric pattern of triangles which curve around the neck. ‘Titanium not only interprets the shiny exterior of the building, but also provides more flexibility in terms of coloring,’ explains Hu. ‘We can anodise titanium and get interesting colours – for example, the green colour shows off the beautiful imperial jadeite in the center.’
The resilient nature of titanium presented a host of challenges; as it can’t be soldered, stone setting proved laborious: ‘The casting of it would require industrial capability due to the extremely high fusion temperature. The prototype has to be done by CAD (computer aided design), before it is cast in titanium. I’m very grateful to have this exceptional French atelier who works with me and is capable of making this happen.’
The necklace links Western art with Eastern culture, pairing the contemporary lines of the core with the exceptional imperial jadeite at its centre. ‘It is the ultimate Chinese culture representation with its auspicious animal carving,’ says Hu. Despite its size, wearability is at the epicentre of her design, and the jadeite pendant can be detached and worn as a brooch. Like the necklace itself, its shape – which references the shields of the ancient Chinese Royal Army and the symbolic protection they offered – is rife in cultural references.
Comfort is also a key factor in the wearing of the necklace: ‘I work with my atelier to make sure the necklace is light enough on the neck,’ adds Hu. ‘The curves of the necklace must meet the organic lines from neck to shoulder of the wearer so that it can be worn comfortably. Functionality and aesthetics can harmoniously co-exist.’ §