For the first time, architect Zaha Hadid has wielded her conceptual magic into gold. Taking the curved lines and brazen designs of some of her most famous buildings (the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, Rome’s MAXXI museum and the Aquatics centre in London’s Olympic park to name a few), the 63-year-old has created a limited edition jewelry collaboration with Caspita founder and designer, Arlène Bonnant.
Titled Skein, the collection’s structural rings and cuffs coil and knot in a complex arrangement of polygonal shapes, representing the infinitely small cellular structures found in nature. Indeed, the mesh-like rings, which come in variations of white, yellow, black and rose gold, appear to grow with your finger as if attempting to wrap its knuckle in latticed gold and pavé diamonds.
“The first piece to be developed was the cuff, which was originally based on a simple torus-shape created from molecular forms that then morph in all directions,” Hadid explained to Latest Revival. “With the rings, we explored the idea of the void by applying the diamonds on both the inner and outer surfaces in a continuous sweeping band.”
The initial design for the Skein collection was already in development when Bonnant, an expert in 20th and 21st century art herself, approached Hadid about doing a collaboration. “Caspita’s input was crucial to the development and production of the collection,” said Hadid. “With their expertise in traditional jewelry making processes, as well as the new contemporary 3D printing facilities available today”.
The artistic duo, whose distinctive design styles are both often reflected in organic, fluid shapes, first had their jewelry collaboration on display as a pop-up store within the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery before it travelled to Art Basel Miami, where it was showcased at the Colette Art Drive-Thru at Alchemist. Now, Latest Revival has the online exclusive for the sibylline creations.
Bonnant, who launched Caspita (meaning “my goodness!” in Italian) two years ago in Switzerland, is certainly no stranger to drawing inspiration from the world’s divine mysteries; often creating entire fine jewelry collections around her deep interest in spirituality.
Her Chakra collection, for example, connects each wearer to one of the seven main Chakras’ physical and emotional functions represented in various shapes of the lotus flower. As each Chakra is linked to a specific gland along the spinal cord, and associated with a particular shape, color, sound, deity and meaning – from sexuality and power, to communication and empathy – Bonnant created a selection of powerfully delicate pieces with the correlating number of bejewelled lotus petals. And her Ouroboros collection, which depicts a serpent or dragon swallowing its tail (a movement that represents the cyclical nature of life), also aims to connect the wearer to their soul and inner emotions.
It is no surprise then that London-based, Iraq-born Hadid, one of the world’s most celebrated and sought-after architects with a Pritzker prize on the shelf and around 40 buildings already dotting the globe, whom designer Donna Karan praises for her “female sensibility” and “goddess’s touch”, and whom Frank Gehry describes as “an extraordinary force of nature,” eventually joined forces with Bonnant.
Through the combination of their complementary design aesthetic, Hadid said that not only did the collaboration provide an opportunity to express her architectural ideas in a different scale and through different media, it inspired a continuous process of creative design investigation. And as Hadid’s inspiration is often derived from the rivers, dunes and fluid landscape of the Middle East, Bonnant similarly looks to the ever-changing colors and enigmatic sensibilities of Greece, Italy, India, Israel and Egypt for inspiration. Here, both women brought equal parts chaos and harmony to their fine jewelry collection, turning the everyday ring and cuff into prodigious works of art.
“Our jewellery collaborations are excellent opportunities to develop and explore the new possibilities created by technological advancements in design software, as well as our inherent desire to test and engage with the very latest manufacturing capabilities and materials,” Hadid said.
“Through 3D printing technology, we now have the possibility to create real prototypes very quickly allowing us to immediately evaluate and revise the design. These greater opportunities for experimentation certainly help to perfect the design and achieve ergonomic precision.”