Franco-Lebanese jewellery designer Walid Akkad has reimagined animals as sculptural shapes in a new collection of rings, ‘Bestiaire’. Unveiled at the Paris art fair, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale, the 21 pieces in red gold are miniature artworks in their own right, and can be worn on the finger or displayed standing upright.
‘The vegetable and animal worlds have always been my main source of inspiration,’ Akkad tells us. ‘Usually, I start with a concrete subject or an existing object and then purposely move away from it during the creation process. As I work on the design, the initial shapes disappear and become abstract. In the end, you can’t really see the initial source of inspiration in the final design. For this new collection, I took a similar approach. I wanted the rings to be harmonious abstract forms when worn on the finger. However, the difference here was that I wanted the designs to come to life as animal forms when they stand alone on their [bases].’
The designs encompass a clean animal form without compromising functionality, related to both the ring’s status as a wearable object and an objet d’art. ‘Finding the right balance between aesthetics and functionality has always been essential for me,’ Akkad adds. ‘I never prevent myself from exploring new shapes but at the end of the day, my designs have to be comfortable to wear and I never lose important aspects like size, proportion and weight from sight. Striking the right balance between these two key components requires a lot of work, but a good design has to make this look effortless.’
Akkad’s passion for flora and fauna meets the stylised work of Henry Moore, Jean Arp and Brâncuși in the resulting clean forms and simple lines of the rings. For Akkad, ensuring the rings stood alone was essential to the overall aesthetic. ‘I wanted the animal form to somehow appear in the designs and the only way to do it elegantly was to create a basis for them to stand alone. The challenge became part of the creative process. For example, I had to create hooves to make the horse ring stand alone.’
The collection is accompanied by a book that details the unique creation process. ‘This collection has opened a new chapter in my work. I will continue to create rings with a basis, or that can stand alone in the future. What started as a constraint has become a new source of inspiration and part of my identity as a jeweller.’
Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale takes place at Carrousel du Louvre, 9-13 November 2022 https://fineartsparislabiennale.com/ (opens in new tab)
Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.
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