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Mike Årsjö

The Swedish jewelry designer takes a shine to aluminum and the lost art of chainmail

by Richard Prime in Style on 15 January 2013

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There's nothing like a good back story to add extra depth to the work of an already gleamingly creative artisan, like that of jewelry designer Mike Årsjö. Tapped as one of the top new innovators from a hotbed of Nordics, Årsjö was born in Puerto Montt, Chile and then brought to Sweden by adoptive missionaries working in Papua New Giuinea. The tribe in which Årsjö grew up—the Sawiyano—holds decorative adornment as a fundamental part of life. The culture of hunter-gatherers happily decorates almost every part of their existence from their homes to their bodies and clothing.

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With that in mind, the link between Årsjö's background and his journey into craft seems like a logical rite of passage aided by his enormous talent. "Although my knowledge in the field increases, I'll try to maintain some of the methods or associations to my childhood, so I don't forget where it all started," he says.

Graduating from Stockholm's Konstfack university in 2012, Årsjö has hardly had time to rest since, racking up collaborations with a few of Sweden's more directional labels, including V Ave S.R. and Erik Bjerkesjö.

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As a designer, Årsjö finds himself often drawn to aluminum. "There's something about it," he says. "While it's not the easiest material to work with if you put the time and effort into it it's one of the most appealing visually. It takes on this incredible glossy shine."

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For his master's project, "The Illusion of Protection," Årsjö examined the illusionary elements of jewelry through time with the intention of showing the links between material selection and illusion. The upshot is a collection encompassing chainmail and intricate, interwoven construction. "The work was looking to show how this kind of jewelry could give the illusion that, if it was worn, could truly offer protection," Årsjö says of his armor-inspired design.

This winter Årsjö is busy creating a line of six rings in silver and leather for Swedish label Obscur. The collaboration has lead to a series of finger-shaped rings and finger guards, a fantastic continuation of Obscur's use of dark iconography for its directional pieces.

For more information visit the designer's website.

Images courtesy of Mike Årsjö

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