'Both works relate to architecture and space,' Italian artist Loris Cecchini says of his current installation Resonances - two large-scale pieces produced in collaboration with the French jewellery and watch house Chaumet. 'It's an emotional integration of both,' he continues. Now on show at the brand's flagship Place Vendôme boutique, the works: Waterbones, a suspended steel sculpture that sprawls across the air, and Wallwave Vibration, a water-like formation rippling out across the back wall, are rooted in Cecchini's fascination with the mathematical formations of the natural world.
There's a natural link to Chaumet too. The house's Class One model was the first ever diver's watch designed for women: it is waterproof, which makes it a sporty everyday watch; its robust nature nonetheless brimming with French chic. So, when Cecchini submitted his ideas for the commission, they settled on 'the fluidity of time'. 'They liked the idea that my work related to phenomenical science and a water theme,' he says.
Even more compelling is the fact that Chaumet also invited Cecchini to design a new Class One watch as part of the exhibition project. Playing on the Berlin-based artist's tendency towards purity, sculptural inversion and monochromatic tones, the limited edition all-white timepiece reflects the Wallwave Vibration piece with its rippling leather strap and cut out mother-of-pearl dial. 'The strap is an extension of the case,' Cecchini explains, 'it's sculptural to touch; an almost exact translation of my work.'
It's not easy to design a watch when you don't know how, so it's intriguing that Chaumet took a risk with Cecchini, and vice-versa. The design took a year to come to fruition. 'I liked the idea of going from maxi to micro because the challenge is to keep the quality and integrity on both scales,' Cecchini told us at the opening of the exhibition in Paris this week. 'Also, a watch is not an art piece, it's a useful object, so I had to learn how a watch is made - and that brings another dimension to my work.'