by Adam Štěch
The contemporary Czech jewelry scene is exceptional. Over the past few years, an array of intriguing designers and craftsmen have become newly curious about jewelry as an abstract structure and have formed a new movement around this facet of design. Jewelry is now one of the most prestigious and interesting fields for young Czech designers, and two that are leading the charge are the duo behind Blueberries.
Blueberries, which was born at the time of the blueberry ripening in the summer of 2012, is a joint project of Markéta Richterová, one of the best jewelry designers of her generation, and her life partner Zbyněk Krulich, an interior and product designer from Morphe Studio. The couple has lived together for a long time, but never worked together. Blueberries is their first collaborative project to date, as well as on of the firsts to foray into 3D-printed jewelry in Czech Republic. Both designers came up with their own style and understanding of how they wanted to approach the collection. Richterová is well known for her handmade carbon fiber, corian or plastic jewelry pieces produced in very strict limited editions. Krulich is a young designer interested in new technologies, parametric design and 3D printing, among others.
Their collaborative skills come together to look at jewelry production in a different way. The organic forms of Richterová's previous pieces in carbon fiber were transferred to the computer software and slightly modified for easier 3D printing. The result is a whole new collection of jewelry, including rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, printed out of colorful nylon. The pieces are extremely light, yet very strong and elastic. The biomorphic forms of Richterová's earlier pieces meet new qualities, such as brightly colored nylon, as well as transparency, thanks to the printer's ability to perforate the pieces. In their work they play with light, matter, composition, scale and geometry, creating accessories that are inspired by both organic and inorganic natural structures.
Richterová's handmade carbon fiber necklaces and other "haute couture jewelry" were taken into the digital age with Blueberries, and although they are now able to mass produce the pieces, they still employ a pioneering and experimental approach to their work. The couple is now working on another series in which they will print precious metals instead of nylon. Called DMLS, Direct Metal Laser Sitering, the technique can print titanium or bronze and at a price more reasonable than those Richterová would make by hand in her studio. Their efforts for the collection rightly won the duo the Czech Grand Design Award in 2012, and we can look forward to more from them in the future.
Photographs by Adéla Havelková