The folks over at Sight Unseen have unearthed a wondrous trove of jewelry designed in high postmodern style by 1980s architects. All but forgotten except for a collection of 150 images in an out-of-print book from 1988, the wildly creative rings, necklaces, and earrings were commissioned by Italian designer Cleto Munari, who had the genius idea of asking architects like New York Five member Peter Eisenman and Memphis Group luminary Ettore Sottsass to create jewelry between 1982 and 1986. Some had dabbled, but most had never designed jewelry before. The resulting pieces break the rules of size, shape, and weight, in a very compelling way.
When the book's author asked Japanese architect Arata Isozaki about the "language" of his jewelry, he replied: "I used vaults, cubes, pyramids, sometimes cylinders. They are really architectural volumes. My jewels are architectural models."
When Italian architect Michele De Lucchi was asked what sort of woman he pictured wearing his fantastic one-off designs, he said: "A very, very beautiful and maybe lonely woman."
Peter Eisenman, meanwhile, provided what could be the most postmodern quote ever: "Their scale is not taken from the scale of a person. As such they deny any connection to or embellishment of human form. They are not in the least decorative. Neither are they representational. They are part of a scale continuum of objects from the ring to a building."
Most people would respectfully disagree with his statement that the fabulous architectural jewelry is not decorative, but anyway, read the whole interview at Sight Unseen. Photos, below.
· From the Library of Sight Unseen: Jewelry by Architects [Sight Unseen]
· Jewelry By Architects: From the Collection of Cleto Munari by Barbara Radice [Amazon]
· All Moonlighting posts [Curbed National]