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JEWELS: ARCHITECTURE TO WEAR Stampa E-mail

Elviro Di Meo
written by Elviro Di Meo

First of all I think I should provide a clarification in order to avoid any chance of being called a "show-off". I myself signed the following article taken and integrated from www.opinione.it and www.archimagazine.com.


I have to thank the editor for giving me the opportunity to express my own theory about the world of design jewels which self-proclaimed art critics have tried to ripropose in several ways. That’s the reason why I want to take advantage of this situation to make my conception clear. The key of concept lies in understanding what we mean when we pronounce the word "jewels". It would be reductive simply calling them decorations; as a matter of fact, they are "prêt-à- porter architecture" ,which is like a second skin. Leaving back the years of uncontrolled consumerism when everything followed the logic of showing off, we want to restore the pure beauty of neat and essential geometric lines to impose new rules in matter of aesthetic taste. Hence my project research, developed together with Professor Antonio Rossetti, architect and Professor of Architectonic Planning at the Federico II University of Naples,Italy. Our Manifesto shows our conception of Art when it comes to jewels: modern glamour is minimalist, essential, clean so even the simplest jewel is the result of geometric lines and shapes which recall the language of contemporary artists. We have long been engaged in defending the artistic logic underlying the jewel making process, against the schemes imposed by the market. Nowadays, companies bet on the " velina" (a show.girl) of the moment to make more profits, which is the most meaningful representation of the mediocrity of our time. Most times,in fact, relying on a well-known testimonial means that the artistic product is lacking in quality. This matter of fact led us to ook for those shapes, icons and poems that are at the base of the project.
Jewels, then, become the metaphors of stories that, as the poet Valéry said, can turn into "petrified poetry". This is the conception underlying our project research.
A sort of conceptual red line unifies the whole collection like the one called "Aléxandros". This latter is inspired to one of the lyrics by the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli taken from the "Poemi Conviviali". Published in 1904, these had previously appeared in the roman review with aesthetic leanings called the "Convivio" ( 1895-1900) directed by Adolfo De Bosis. These poems deal with historical themes mostly taken from Greek history, according to the parnassian taste, revisiting the ancient world with a modern intimist sensitiveness. Alexander, the Great leader, reaches the end of the known world but he is crushed by the abyss lying between himself and the void, from the outer space. His human journey turns into a burning disappointment when he sees the death of his dreams. He is aware of a distant and mysterious world like the moon: a solitary and deserted land. To this regard Pascoli writes: "Giungemmo: è il Fine. O sacro Araldo, squilla! Non altra terra se non là, nell’aria, quella che in mezzo del brocchier vi brilla, o Pezetèri!: errante e solitaria terra, inaccessa. Dall’ultima sponda vedete là, mistofori di Caria, l’ultimo fiume oceano senz’onda". And, trying to overcome the gap between his dreams and what he really reached :- "Azzurri, come il cielo, come il mare, o monti! Era miglior pensiero ristare, non guardare oltre, sognare: il sogno è l’infinita ombra del Vero". – there is , in the silence of his own unconscious, with tears running on his face, the image of a domestic interior, where his mother represents his reference point, his point of arrival as well as the beginning of a further dimension. It’s a place where dreaming and abandoning to secret and hidden voices is still possibile. All that is revisited in an architectural way : the jewel. The necklace is in white gold and made up of a very light tubular. On the one end there is a big black pearl bearing the evocative image of Alexander the Great; on the other end a very big moon bearing clear and shining pearls. This represents the beginning and the end of the dialogue between the human being and the immensity of the universe. The same pattern is also present in the ring, covered by the outlines of a dome. The structure of the base becomes wider just like a band, on top of which there is a big black pearl. The same structure is to be found in the drop earring: a string of pearls grasps a round moon which, on its turn, bears a big black pearl. Our research for dynamism takes inspiration from paintings by Boccioni and Balla, the two leaders of the Futurist movement. It is reproposed in "Fluent Shapes": tubulars binding your neck which freely flow in concave and convex movements on women’s décolleté with a soft pavé of diamonds bearing two rails of blue zaphires. Designing a jewel is like desining a house, a hotel or any other architectural work. The concept is exactly the same. There are the same practical difficulties but if we do want to find a difference, this can be found in the dimensions, not in methodology. Just like the buildings are made up of main structures linked to secondary elements, having both static and ornamental functions, the jewel designing process involves the same problems. These have to be faced and solved in order not to damage what Vitruvio called the "Firmitas" and the " elegance " of the object.
These meditations are also at the base of the bracelet – a revisitation of "Capri in the 1950s", wrapping up the whole forearm.
The reference to the glories of ancient Egypt are clear in the relief necklace in pink gold with a baguette of blue zaphires. It is made up of modules (stitches) kept together by suitable hooks which make the jewel flexible and adaptable to your neck. The same can be found in the necklace inspired to Nefertiti, the symbol of everlasting Beauty. Again, an example of our philosophy can be found in the same procedural schemes we adopted when designing the sculpture-ring bearing an emerald-cut stone manufactured both in white and yellow gold, in several nuances. The inspiration for this model dates back to the 1940s, to the late déco style, seen in Venice in November 2005, worn by Marina Dragotto an Italian architect on occasion of a seminar. The ring becomes the key to go back in time: it is a sort of Tito’s Arch which opens a very ancient dimension, the key to an Egyptian sarcophagus.
Other kind of efforts have been made to create the jewels inspired to Carlo Scarpa's architecture, one of the greatest and most learned architects of the XX century. For this wonderful ring inspiration came from Palazzo Querini Stampalia’s gardens in Venice, Italy. Here Mr Scarpa expresses the typical features characterizing his works. The collection starts with a ring in metacrylate; it has been produced by the "Fedele 82" in Rome and given to the sales department of the Querini Stampalia Foundation for a limited series of fifty numbered pieces. These latter were sold on occasion of the opening of the area designed by Carlo Scarpa. At the same time Professor Rossetti ansd I are also working on a complete parure made up of earrings, necklace, bracelet and twins, which will be also produced in metacrylate. Our aim is to test new projectual hypothesis, juxtaposing several materials in order to obtain products of a better quality.
Jewels and architecture are both an expression of the human being’ s creativity so, as Professor Rossetti says : "the architectural design is like water. Raining from the sky in different places water takes on different shapes which we call sea, lake, pond, glaciers….But, the sea, the lake, the pond and glaciers are always…Water".


By Elviro Di Meo, architect
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