written by tutor and GSA student Laura Knowles.
From plastic to gold; designs inspired by the soul and the absurd, Schmuck and Munich Jewellery Week had everything to offer for the conceptual jewellery lover. My first encounter with this carnival of creativity was overwhelming to say the least but it is fantastic to give you a basis on what you value in design with over 100 exhibitions on jewellery and silversmithing.
During my 5 day long trip I saw some stuff that made me ask “but why?” to “I wish I’d through of that.” This contrast was Schmuck in its essence but with the added whiplash of being staged in a giant industrial building along with interior design, food, gardening and all other areas of design under the sun. Some of my favourites to mention are Peter Bauhuis who explores casting; Yukata Minegishi - who I had the pleasure of meeting in his workshop - who plays with material carving intuitively in his works; Robert Bains whose work was breathtakingly intricate; Linda Hughes and also Giovanni Corvaja to name just a few. However, my favourite stall at the whole Schmuck event was the work of the Korea Craft and Design Foundation. The designers had so beautifully fused material and technology to create some simply crafted, but none-the-less beautiful, pieces.
Within Munich itself, MJW had exhibitions in smaller spaces spread across the city, each one devoted to an individual designer/artist or several artists/designers exploring the same theme. 21 Grams was an exhibition that stood out to me for its interesting theme more than anything else. The story goes that when you die 21 grams of weight is lost due to the soul leaving the body and this is what was explored in the form of object and jewellery within the exhibition. A deep and challenging subject, but well explored amongst the space. A wonderful example of a singular designer within an exhibition was Lin Cheung who explores everyday notions of jewellery, from Brexit to carving quartz and pearls, and then shifts them to the point of being unrecognisable.
These examples were merely highlights for me, however, there were other wonderful exhibitions, such as the Central St Martins collection, Nuda Vita, and a tour around the gold collection at Staatliche Antikensammlungen. Amongst all this, being able to wander about Altstadt within the city centre, marvelling at the old architecture and spending some time in the many, many beer halls offered a fantastic experience of the Bavarian culture. Overall, it was a giggle and a visual feast but more importantly reaffirmed who I am as a designer.