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Interview by Rebecca Acar
Brussels, Vienna, New York, Stockholm and last but not least Düsseldorf – Ariane Ernst not only travelled the world, but also collected her experience and expertise as a designer at all these places. This year in 2014, her eponymous labelccelebrates its first anniversary.
In our interview, Ariane tells us what she loves about design, which designers she likes the most and which time zone she is currently living in.
CAN YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU FIRST REALIZED THAT YOU WANT TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
Quite early already – when I was about 13.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DEVELOPMENT AND YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND.
After my school leaving examination, I did some internships at jewelry designers and goldsmiths in Germany and Belgium. After this I was sure that I wanted to create jewelry. So, I moved from Brussels to Vienna to complete my apprenticeship as a goldsmith. Afterwards, I went to New York to work as a goldsmith over there.
While in NYC, I enjoyed my time working in a design jewelry store in Soho a lot. It felt really inspiring! I knew that I wanted to be more than a goldsmith and so I went back to Germany to study Applied Art and Design. With my Bachelor degree under my belt I then went to Stockholm, Sweden to work at H&M’s head office and to try my hand in costume jewelry.
After a short time I knew that I want to create and sell my own designs. I then returned to Düsseldorf, studied Applied Art and Design until the Master degree and finally founded my own label.
WHAT DO YOU SPECIFICALLY LOVE ABOUT DESIGN AND WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGES?
I love design because it simply makes life more beautiful in every way – not only when it comes to jewelry. Good design also improves your everyday life and makes it easier and more esthetical. The challenge for good design: It has to make sense at first sight.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE COLLECTION YOU PRESENT HERE ON RUNWAY PASSPORT?
I love minimalism and colors. There lies a concept in each of my pieces of jewelry. I don’t only create a shape because it is beautiful – I deduce it. For this collection the inspiration mainly was the work of an already deceased artist named GEGO (Gertrud Goldschmidt). Inspired by Gego, the collection was about the transparency of space depicted with grate structures created with bars and strings.
FOR WHOM DO YOU DESIGN YOUR PIECES?
Actually, for everyone. But in truth: For the new modern woman who is into fashion and who isn’t too keen on classical status symbols – which often is jewelry.
ON WHICH PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO SEE ONE OF YOUR PIECES OF JEWELRY?
Hm… Maybe on fashion designer Phoebe Philo or fashion blogger Leandra Medine from The Man Repeller. Or maybe Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue USA.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM IN GENERAL?
Fashion, architecture, people, environment…
IS THERE A DESIGNER WHICH REALLY IMPRESSES YOU OR SOMEONE WHO YOU ADMIRE?
I like fashion by Céline, Phoebe Philo is the head of design here. I like Stella McCartney, Hussein Chalayan, Iris van Herpen or artists such as Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU EVER DESIGNED?
This also was the first piece of jewelry I made by hand: A silver pendant shaped like a tiger’s head. Actually, it looked more like a hybrid from a puma and a bear.
IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR PATH AS DESIGNER: HOW DID YOU DEVELOP?
It really is a long process until you find your own signature. I think, it is only been 1,5 years ago since I found my own vision as a designer – and of course it is still maturing. Also in retrospect, lots of things I designed make sense again.
WHICH OF YOUR PIECES OF JEWELRY ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF?
My Brillant Ring Series
IS THERE ANYTHING A DESIGN MUST FULFILL FOR YOU? WHEN ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH A PIECE?
I am happy with a design when there is nothing missing and when the shape is perfected to the point that it can exist on its own.
ART AND DESIGN – TWO THINGS THAT BELONG TOGETHER OR THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF EACH OTHER?
Design belongs to art but art doesn’t belong to design. Art is the origin.
IS THERE A COUNTRY OR A CITY THAT FASCINATES YOU, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE DESIGN SCENE?
There are lots of cities and countries which fascinate me, but it’s hard to decide based on the design scene. I’m inspired by Portugal or New York. But there are still lots of other cities and countries on my list which I want to visit.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MATERIAL?
Gold. But unfortunately it is too expensive to work with often.
AT WHICH TIME OF DAY YOU LIKE TO WORK THE MOST?
Starting at 12 pm and then until late at night. It has always has been like this for me including during my schooldays. 13 years it was a real torture to get up early day by day and stay attentive. I simply live in another time zone.
IN WHICH SITUATIONS YOU FEEL THE MOST CREATIVE?
Visit Ariane Ernst Boutique here