Lynda Benglis jewellery for Loewe wins Best Wearable Art at Wallpaper Design Awards 2024

Spanish label Loewe and American sculptor Lynda Benglis have collaborated on an award-winning jewellery collection

‘Glitter Fragment‘ earcuff in sterling silver and crystals (right) and ‘Pleated Fan’ cuff in sterling silver (left), both by Lynda Benglis, for Loewe. Photography assistant: Louise Oates
(Image credit: Adrien Dubost)

Colour, form and materiality collide in a collaboration between Spanish label Loewe and American sculptor Lynda Benglis, together bringing a seductive fizz to jewellery design.

The new collection comprises seven concepts that reference Benglis’ work, as well as the large- scale sculptures that commandeered Loewe’s S/S24 women’s catwalk. A sensuous reinterpretation of Benglis’ ongoing series Elephant Necklace (itself inspired by the blown-out tractor tyres strewn on the sides of countless American highways), the great, hulking bronze formations appeared as if smoothed and manipulated by the artist’s hand, the dynamic marks of making still visible on the material.

Benglis builds on this temporality in her jewellery for Loewe, translating free-flowing forms into overblown yet functional jewellery. ‘Nature is always the answer,’ says Benglis on the raw and instinctive nature of her pieces. ‘I wanted the pieces to embody states of metamorphosis. A sense of growth with time, change and rebirth. Mirroring life’s transformations within art ideas, so we continue to think beyond thought to the absurd, in order to explore material excess.’

Like the sculptures, the jewellery joyfully juxtaposes materials and textures, a motif that runs throughout her work. It joins an instinctive respect for the quirks of often viscous materials, making for a process that lets the material define the finished form, an eclectic nature that is reflected in the jewellery itself: ‘As humans, we are attracted to precious metals and things that glitter,’ says Benglis. ‘Jewellery is a perfect place to explore these primal delights.’


‘Wow’ cuff in aluminium, by Lynda Benglis, for Loewe

(Image credit: Adrien Dubost)

In ‘Glitter Fragment’, rainbows of crystals and sterling silver allow us to indulge our inner magpie. Marshmallow puffs of glittering colour rest on or ripple between the fingers in single or double rings, or are teased into ear cuffs that drape casually over the whorls of the ear. In ‘Foam Drip’, Benglis’ preoccupation with the ability of material to transcend between states is explored in pieces made of enamel and sterling silver. In their misshapen forms, they reference her experiments with spraying expandable foam during a workshop visit to Sante Fe with Loewe. Fans of aluminium flutter around the wrist and embrace the earlobes in the ‘Pleated Fan’ pieces, while in ‘Knuckle Not’, the material is rolled into long tubes, twisted and knotted, making for rings and brooches that encompass offbeat, anfractuous shapes.

For Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, the wearable sculptures are a succinct encapsulation of the brand’s spirit. ‘There is something about Lynda Benglis’ experiments of the 1970s – the liberation, friction and violence – that I’m drawn to. I think there has to be a tension. This collection of jewellery harnesses some of that energy, the dynamism of materials in motion, captured in moments and fragments from her studio.’

At all times, the collaboration stays faithful to Benglis’ process, which celebrates the properties of material. Her fascination with materials in transit – wax being poured, latex pooling into undulating puddles, pinched metals, bubbling foam – becomes jewellery that appears as if frozen in time. The sense of movement and convoluted forms are as omnipresent in these jewellery pieces as they are in the artwork, but here the role of the body takes on a greater significance, becoming a sensual springboard for the potential of precious metal.

The jewellery, becoming small-scale translations of her work, respects both her creative methodology and the functional requirements of jewellery design, as demonstrated in the ‘Wow’ pieces. They directly reference the paper sculptures that Loewe’s jewellery designer came across in Benglis’ studio, which were created from shrinkable wet paper pressed over wire or bamboo, to form rough skeletons. Once dried, the sinuous silhouettes resemble writhing living forms, and have now become cuffs that appear to have been smoothed nonchalantly around the contours of the wrist. ‘Elephant’, too, is a direct translation of this raw palpability in her work, in a rethinking of the proportions of the Elephant Necklace series, resulting in oversized cuffs and earrings that dance over the delicate proportions of the body.

For Benglis, this interpretation of her forms for Loewe has been a joy. ‘Loewe is an umbrella of sensual metaphors in fashion. And we share a love of glitter!’

A version of this article appears in the February 2024 issue of Wallpaper* – dedicated to the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2024 – available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

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.