The Australian - Wish Magazine - - NEW WATCHES -

Look­ing back to look for­ward is in­grained in the de­sign process at Georg Jensen. The Dan­ish jew­ellery and home brand uses its ar­chives as the first source of in­spi­ra­tion for new prod­ucts. This year, to mark the 50th an­niver­sary of its defin­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Swedish-born silversmith Vivianna Torun BülowHübe, Georg Jensen cu­rated a trav­el­ling col­lec­tion of ex­quis­ite archival pieces and recre­ated her workspace in the smithy in Fred­eriks­berg in Copen­hagen. Laid out on a wooden bench are trays of peb­bles like those she col­lected from the beach in the south of France as well as the sil­ver spi­rals and twisted curves that were re­cur­ring shapes in her jew­ellery.

Born in Malmö in 1927 and then liv­ing in France, Ger­many and In­done­sia, Torun was a free spirit who

chose to be­come a silversmith when it was a field dom­i­nated by men. Fiercely in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic, she broke con­ven­tions about jew­ellery, want­ing it to be “an­ti­s­ta­tus” and lib­er­at­ing for women, en­hanc­ing and mov­ing with the body but also hon­est. Rather than con­ceal fas­ten­ings she ac­cen­tu­ated them. Her pen­dants and neck rings sit in the hol­low of the neck and ban­gles fol­low the curve of the wrist. Torun saw the möbius strip, which has one line and one sur­face run­ning in­fin­itely, as a sym­bol of eter­nal love, and she loved the en­ergy of the vor­tex or dou­ble spi­ral.

Ni­cholas Manville, Georg Jensen’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of de­sign and mer­chan­dis­ing, says Torun would work with raw stones that she treated as though they were pre­cious. He says Torun is a touch­stone for Georg Jensen, embodying the feel­ings the house has con­tin­ued with to this day, the ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and the types of stones. The 50th an­niver­sary was an op­por­tu­nity to re­mem­ber her in con­text – “the fact that she was a woman and the kind of per­son you need to be to break those bar­ri­ers. Plus she was push­ing it with a lot of th­ese forms that were so ad­vanced for their time.”

Her Möbius neck­lace, de­signed in 1959, which has a lead crys­tal drop that drapes over the shoul­der, has been de­scribed as a “mile­stone in the his­tory of mod­ern jew­ellery”. The ban­gle watch made by Georg Jensen in 1969, now called the Vivianna, re­de­fined the idea of a watch as a jew­ellery piece.

Manville says watch peo­ple are still be­mused by the Vivianna with its open ban­gle and mir­rored face, meant to give the wearer a sense of not be­ing a slave to time. “We were speak­ing to some watch guys and they said, ‘your brand is very strange that you’ve had suc­cess with this watch.’ If they were to see that watch new, with any other brand, they would think it was crazy, but for us to have it as an icon is a great qual­ity.”

In the ar­chive, be­sides more than 100 pro­to­types and sam­ples of the watch, are one-off neck­laces and neck rings of ru­til­lated quartz and amethysts and a mag­ni­fy­ing glass on a sil­ver chain.

“The first part of the de­sign process is usu­ally here. We just go through ev­ery­thing and use them ac­tively for in­spi­ra­tion, so it’s a great spring­board,” says Manville, point­ing to the two-tiered Pen­dant 135 of rock crys­tals and amethysts, which in­spired the Grosvenor African pen­dant in yel­low gold with cabo­chon emer­alds shown in Basel last year.

“We have ev­ery watch that we’ve ever made so we can go through what de­signs can be mod­ernised or see if there’s some­thing that we have al­ready or have worked with be­fore. If we are work­ing with out­side de­sign­ers we can say, ‘we would like you to be in­spired by this and you can be the per­son who is push­ing it to the next life’.”

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe, her recre­ated workspace, the Vivianna ban­gle watch and pieces from the Sa­van­nah col­lec­tion she de­signed in the 1970s

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