Architect-designed jewellery is a hit and miss affair. Often, the misses are more frequent in that designers so used to imagining giant, static structures that people move around in do not always make as easy as a transition to small forms designed to move with people, as they might think. Often, the finished product tends to veer towards the linear and, frankly, masculine, omitting curves and texture – the tactile qualities so central to successful jewellery design.
Zaha Hadid’s new collection for Danish design house Georg Jensen, launched this week at Baselworld, bucks the trend somewhat. Her architectural forms are, of course, inherently sensuous, and so it is with the sweeps and curves of her jewels. But the real difference here is that she has devised a collection from a jeweller’s standpoint, considering, first and foremost, how the pieces might be worn.
To that effect, Hadid, a keen jewellery-wearer herself, has focused on the area she prefers to adorn: the hands, creating a capsule collection of hand jewels comprising three cuffs and five rings. There are two material options: sterling silver and black rhodium and diamonds.
There's a definitive architectural reference too. Having witnessed the gradual construction of Hadid’s Wangjing Soho Complex in Beijing, completed in 2014, Georg Jensen creative director David Chu was increasingly drawn to the notion of Hadid designing a jewellery collection for the house. Of course, he's not the first to approach Hadid to create jewellery but Jensen’s unique history of working with visionary women designers, from the 1960s to today, serves as a natural link.
'Our starting point was Georg Jensen’s design links to nature,' Hadid confirms. 'We often look at the coherence of natural systems when we work to create environments. Our challenge was to translate that into something that can be worn. This collection gave us the chance to express our ideas on a different scale.'
The Wangjing Soho complex, which Hadid envisioned as 'an interweaving mountain' reflected Georg Jensen’s design preoccupation with organic forms. As Chu says: 'I asked Zaha to design a collection inspired by the Wangjing buildings. This extraordinary suite of jewels is her beautifully powerful response.'