A collection of sustainable jewellery that the owner can change around as they wish. Inspired by a Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, they offer symbols of sanctuary and easy ways to change style whilst promoting social + environmental change that leads to responsible production and supply chain transparency. The project will combine modern 3D-printing techniques with the traditional artisan technique of lost wax casting to develop customised pieces.
The idea for our jewellery project started on holiday in Syracuse, Sicily. It was early February, and we were one of the few tourists in town, Northern Europeans escaping the winter. One sunny morning, whilst enjoying ice cream brioche in a café for breakfast, we entered into a lively debate about what it would take to make a piece of jewellery deeply personal and meaningful. As a communication designer working in sustainable fashion, I had been thinking of entering the Worth Partnership Award. But I did not want to develop and eventually release yet another purposeless product into our world of overconsumption.
I knew that if I designed a collection of jewellery, it had to be beautiful in its form, ethically crafted, and able to transmit a strong personal bond, meaning, and purpose to its wearer. Heirloom jewellery grounded in the sacredness of life that will be passed on through generations.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
But how could we create such a bond, how could we infuse an object with deeply personal meaning that also subtly comes alive in its unique form? We started with these questions, and eventually decided on the idea to work with the human voice and its sound waves. Not only is the human voice is a transmitter of words, messages, and meanings but every human’s voice is also unique in itself, just like fingerprints or the patterns of an iris. An ideal starting point that would allow us to transform recordings of memories, reflections, and poetry into personalised jewellery pieces, designed with the unique voices of our customers and their sound waves at the core.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
We developed a process that combines computational design with artisanal craftsmanship. In this process, we digitally translate human voice data into three-dimensional CAD models. In the first stage of our design project, we collaborated with the computational designer, Yuchen Chen, who programmed an algorithm in the 3D computer modelling software Grasshopper that allows us to generate personalised designs with sound. The jewellery pieces are created by infusing the sound waves of the spoken words into this cellular growth algorithm that then creates intricate organic shapes based on the input data. The 3D forms generated can then be 3D printed to produce patterns for traditional lost-wax casting methods. In the second stage of our design project, we worked together with our project partner, Vipa Designs.
Their skilled craftsmen cast each unique piece in 100% recycled bronze and added an antique polish.
Working together closely with both Vipa Designs and Yuchen Chen allowed us to build a bridge between new technology and traditional craft, and to achieve a unique design as a result of this new process. In addition, Vipa Designs shared their expertise in the sustainable sourcing of materials, and we can now offer ethically made pieces from 100% recycled fine metals to our customers.
Going forward, we decided to create a core capsule collection in addition to the bespoke personalised jewellery pieces. For our core capsule pieces, we commissioned a poem, “Return to Knowing”, from Sydney-based poet Stacey Cotter Manière that we used as the sound input. We aim to sell the bespoke pieces solely made-to-order through our e-commerce website, and the capsule collection pieces also via suitable jewellery boutiques and concept stores to gain wider reach and additional in person sales channels.
Taking part in the Worth Partnership Project was an amazing experience. It allowed us to work together with highly skilled partners, experiment with them, learn from their expertise, and create a unique new product that we are truly proud of.
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VIPA DESIGNS are casters, manufacturers and designers of high-quality gold, silver, platinum and palladium jewellery, offering our services both to private clients and to the trade. Founded in 1979 by managing director Peter Crump, Vipa soon established an enviable reputation for innovative design and the high quality manufacturing of jewellery.