The long view: what Munich-based designer Saskia Diez did next
‘Every piece has its own story: what did I mean to do? What do I want it to tell you? What did I put into it? what does it mean to you?’ says Munich-based Saskia Diez of her design methodology. ‘The thing I love about designing jewellery is the different levels you have to consider from the outside in. Everything that happened on the way to make it, everything that led to you achieving it. All of it is summed up in the final piece.’
While such precision-thinking belies her traditional training at a local goldsmith’s workshop, it also proves that Diez’s decision to forego the jeweller’s bench for the rigours of commercial design and stints at Konstantin Grcic and Christian Haas was a wise one. ‘I was lucky because the goldsmith’s atelier was one of the few where you learn to do pieces from scratch and master all the techniques. Still, I knew I wanted to address a larger audience, which is hard when you do one-of-a-kind pieces as a goldsmith.’
As a product designer, Diez offers a careful edit of men’s and women’s accessories, including jewellery, sunglasses and light-as-air recyclable synthetic ‘paper’ holdalls and rucksacks for husband Stefan Diez’s label that have become something of a classic in her own lifetime.
Diez designs and works from her studio in Munich
Her jewellery design, characterised by a combination of strong, oversized forms and a serene lightness of touch, is just as precise and honest. ‘You usually get what you see,’ Diez offers. ‘When it is silver, it is done in sterling silver, when it is a delicate piece in gold, it is done in 18ct gold. When you see pearls, they are real. I also work with leather, wood, rock crystal and different stones. Relation and realness are important to me.’
Perhaps it’s her grounded approach that is central to Diez’s success, for despite the pull of the global fashion arena, she is content to evolve in her own way, in her native Munich. ‘My studio is located near to the River Isar. I grew up near a lake and wherever I go I like to be near water. Also, when it comes to crafts and sourcing, Germany is a treasure box. The level of perfection you get here is outstanding; real laboratories where people combine traditional crafts with modern techniques. There’s a kind of Homo faber attitude.’
The jeweller’s current collection includes the super-long earrings that are something of a Diez trademark. They are created using silver box chain, a 1980s high-street jewellery stalwart. Yet Diez’s product designer’s sleight of hand means that classic engineering allows her necklaces, asymmetric earrings and chains to ‘dance’ on the body in a way precisely managed by the designer.
This month, she unveils a new collaboration with cult New York accessories label Pan & the Dream, makers of superfine Italian tulle socks. The result is a highly covetable tulle neck scarf, Diez-spangled with artfully considered silver sequins. If it sounds whimsical, Diez’s feet are, of course, firmly on the ground: ‘The moment you have an idea is a nice one. But it’s the one where you feel that you’ve got somewhere, that you’ve got something right that is really precious.’
As originally featured in the April 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*229)