A wonderful blend of creativity, cheeriness and Scandinavian aesthetics washes over us when we open the door to Vera & Kyte’s inspiring design studio in the Verftet neighbourhood in Bergen. Out here at the very edge of Bergen, in an office with rustic beams and slanting roofs, and with the sea either foaming or glittering just outside the window, these two acclaimed and award-winning designers have created a light and delicate universe punctuated by interesting splashes of colour in the form of furniture, products and interior design systems. A great deal has been written about many of the products in Norway and abroad, and the creative duo have also designed for major manufacturers like Roll & Hill, Bolia, Northern and Fram Oslo. Now Vera & Kyte are branching out into more precious materials, and have been working with Arven to create a stunning collection of jewellery! You can read about the idea behind the collection here, and the collaborative design process involved.
How does an ideacome to be born?
We start by looking at things fairly analytically. That might sound pretty boring, but for us it is a process which is fairly complex and exciting. It starts when we are presented with an assignment or a problem to be solved.We have to consider the material, the market situation, the target group and the interests of the manufacturer. In this case, with the jewellery collection for Arven, we wanted to use our background from furniture and product design to bring something new to this segment. We took a broad look at the products already out there, in order to familiarise ourselves with the market. We wanted the jewellery we designed for Arven to be distinctive and stand out.We worked on introducing a mobility that made them very flexible. Weight and counterweight became a recurring theme throughout the collection. Testing and modelling products on such a tiny scale was a new challenge. We found that paper and 3D printed models, and larger scale prototypes of the shapes were extremely helpful.
What are the thoughts and ideas behind this collection? And what did you arrive at after this initial stage of analysis and insight?
We often work with simple geometric shapes, and we also wanted to develop this expression in the jewellery collection. Mobility, clean lines and delicate colours are a main theme. Smooth silver cones are in interplay with decorative hexagonal poles and circular shapes in the catch and pendant. The simple graphic expression of the silver is reinforced by the spherical gemstones in playful colours. In our work with Arven, it was important to keep the silver in focus, giving it the role of more than just a frame or holder for the stones. We wanted to create an equal interplay and keep the materials and shapes in balance.
The expression and colours in the collection are all very Vera & Kyte! What would you say is your signature? Although you have created many different products and solutions, there is clearly a theme running through all of them.
We have an inbuilt curiosity about shape, materials, colours and people, and this is what drives us on. As a Norwegian design studio, we have a long and strong Scandinavian design tradition, embodied by clean lines, natural materials and functionality. Our work builds on these values, and experiments with modern materials and colour palettes in objects designed around our modern lives, which tend to be characterised by a strongly coloured minimalist playfulness.
What about your own relationship with jewellery?
For us, it’s important for the pieces we wear to be flexible, the kind that can be worn both every day and on special occasions. That has also been our aim with this collection. Pieces which are minimalist are lovely, but there must also be a statement, a kind of wow effect!
What has it been like to work with Arven?
It has been an absolute dream assignment! To have the manufacturer so close, just a short trip across Vågen with the Beffen ferry, has been absolutely amazing. This proximity has had huge benefits, both in terms of efficiency and communication. Silver has been a new material for us, and jewellery has obviously been the smallest format we have had to work with in terms of dimensions. The contact we have had with the craftsmen here has been priceless. It has given us the opportunity to work closely with them on testing out different solutions and ideas.It has also enabled us to work on the important details in an incredibly open dialogue, and given us a unique opportunity to learn about the material and craftsmanship. We also have to admit that for us as Bergen residents, it gives us extra kudos to work with Arven and become part of the continuing development of the city’s silver heritage.
Have you learned something from this collaboration?
Very much! To start with, we were given an incredibly impressive introduction to Arven’s history.We were already aware that silver has always been important for the city of Bergen, but now we have a much deeper insight into that. Looking through the files which had books going back to the 19th century, filled with old sketches by famous designers from history gave us a real impression of the history, and an insight into the opportunities of craftsmanship and technique that the partnership could offer. This gave us an enormous motivation to contribute our designs and help Arven to continue developing its already rich history. And we have to admit that we were absolutely ecstatic when we found out that it was a silver collection they wanted us to design!
A lot of unexpected problems cropped up while we were working on this collection, which made us realise how difficult it is to create a flexible and apparently simple mobility like that which you will find in the longest piece in the collection. The circular plate which the chain slides through acts as a pulley. On the outside, it looks simple and unaffected, but the inside has been designed as a locking mechanism which Arven’s craftsmen made specially for us.Throughout the project, there has been incredibly open dialogue between us as designers and Arven as the manufacturer. The mutual trust in each other, the fact that they trust our design sense, and the fact that we have a deep respect for Arven’s expertise in craftsmanship have resulted in beautiful products which we are very proud of!
Learn more about Vera & Kyte here
Buy Balance here