LiLO, a signature modular connector made of emerald by-products and recycled metals.
Maximize resource efficiency, minimize overproduction and encourage reusability through a modular format of jewellery. The objective is to enhance chain in its functional context, embrace it as a symbol of connection and reinforce it with material innovation.
On average, 10 tonnes of earth are excavated for each carat of emerald recovered. Addressing the need to evolve product and material usability is key to reduce the impact on the environment and deliver greater value to the existing by-products of emerald extraction.
A connector-clasp called LiLO (link&lock) made of emerald by-products and recycled metals. LiLO will contribute to jewellery modularity and will work as the bridge to connect, reuse and reimagine chain in different contexts. It may also contribute to reposition social, environmental and value perception of the emerald stone.
The concept idea is based on the deconstruction and rearrangement of interchangeable connectors to form multiple combinations of chains. This format is designed to be simplified, amplified and optimized
A playful jewellery format based on the deconstruction and construction of multifunctional chain connectors that aim to encourage re-usability and self-expression. Almost like building blocks to unapologetically create. LiLO’s idea derived from the need to integrate emerald by-products through a connector with a fully working mechanism that could complement and re-articulate sustainability within the format. I have always been drawn to functional and utilitarian objects. I see beauty in it and I am interested in the idea of transformation and how ordinary objects can be enhanced by changing their context of use. Chains and tools are a constant source of inspiration, sculpting is also a part of my creative process and I tend to merge the inspiration and my thinking through this medium, it helps me reflect on line, form, texture, among other things, it is a meditative process where I get most of my ideas from which I then apply to re-configure chain and place it in different contexts.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
The overall project emerged whilst at university when I was doing a Masters in jewellery design. I have always felt the need to involve sustainable thinking through my work and user experience. Conscious design in jewellery through material regeneration and functionality seemed the right match for me. The idea of making any kind of positive impact on the lives of the consumers and the environment, is enough for me to put the approach into practice and LiLO could help achieving this by demonstrating chain artistically. The whole purpose is to maximize the use of each chain component and optimized its material and visual features. LiLO’s task is to contribute to the positive handling of emerald by-products; the resulting grit from emerald extraction that would otherwise end up forgotten in the mined debris. It is also tasked to challenge perceptions of value, allowing us to appreciate emeralds in a different framework, driven by circular design and resource efficiency with each component designed and made to last.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
My approach as a designer is embedded with a ‘form follows function’ principle or ‘functionalism’ which suggests that function is the starting point of the design process. I usually nurture this idea by making then drawing, it involves a lot of questioning. The point is to design with intention. The “why” and the “what” are an essential part of the development for me. I collect all thoughts through mind maps where the ideas are dissected, informed, studied and tested and techniques are tirelessly iterated. The source of materiality plays a big part in the decision making, in this case thanks to Worth’s networking opportunities the emerald research took unexpected positive turning points. We connected and worked with promising partners and established systems for future further developments.
The very foundation of the project and concept overall is connection and collaboration. The co-creation environment we developed between partners allowed for a bigger, better, more structured outlook of the project’s characteristics. The opportunity to exchange skills and knowledge has been invaluable. LiLO’s core idea is to link people, craftsmanship, ideas, creativity, cultures, and this experience has embodied this philosophy. Worth gave us the tools and helped us reaffirmed that we indeed make a positive force when we join our efforts together.
We considered ourselves a work in progress. The future is the result of what we cultivate in the present. The immediate plan is to work efficiently and more socially and environmentally conscious than ever. LiLO is part of a bigger family of connectors, the goal is to merge them all seamlessly and further collaborate across borders and practices to create fruitful connections, greater visibility and hopefully a healthy scaling-up process.
Connect, communicate, collaborate, create and turn the attention to the present. Working independently is definitely part of the equation but collaboration equals growth. Once again teamwork reminded us the importance to listen, reflect, be open, be patience, never assume and try not to overthink it. We learned that “crazy” or“irrelevant” thoughts are usually the turning points to problem-solving and the catalyst of innovation. We understood that collaboration is a friend giving you the opportunity to improve, to come out of the bubble and gain greater perspective.
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Maria Zambrano is a Colombian designer based in London with a fashion design degree from London College of Fashion and a Masters in jewellery design from Central Saint Martins. Her pursuit is to broaden the possibilities of making, wearing and perceiving jewellery in a ethical context.
- MARÍA JOSÉ ZAMBRANO LÓPEZ
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