i thought i would delve into some design history today, for a change, mostly because i want to learn & teach myself about these things. so much of the awesome creativity i share on the blog is likely influenced by someone or something, and it’s always good to go back and see who was groundbreaking in their field, becoming design heroes in a sense.
if there’s one design field i do not know much about, it’s jewellery. so today our design hero is Elis Kauppi, a Finnish designer born in 1921 (d. 2004) who was at the forefront of the modernist jewellery movement in Finland.
In 1945, at age 24, Kauppi founded his renowned jewelry workshop, Kupittaan Kulta, in Turku, Finland. Part of a younger generation of makers which would forever change the face of jewelry design, Kauppi was driven to innovate by both the difficult circumstances of war and a desire to push past accepted standards of jewelry design at the time. He was one of the first to use local stones such as granite and spectrolite, which were elevated in status and incorporated into unique designs in fresh and innovative way. Attention to simplicity and form was the order of the day. A true modernist, Kauppi’s designs emphasize abstraction, rejecting the popular forties naturalistic flower and leaf designs. With strong focus on craftsmanship and integrity of design, his bold creations remain strikingly relevant today. *
it’s possible that you might look at these pieces and think, “well, i see stuff like this now a days!” (i do give people more credit than that, but you never know) that’s of course because Kauppi and his Modernist contemporaries – not just in Finland, but all over the world - set the stage for modern jewellery design.
These forward thinking artisans rejected the traditional European designs of the time which included the rigid geometry of art deco and the popular ornate decorative trends. These early modernist jewelry designers created vibrant, exciting and fresh pieces where form, workmanship and esthetic ideals were more important then intrinsic materials. Using brass, copper, wood, silver, found materials, stones, etc., they created bold and expressive sculptural forms never before seen in jewelry design. *
you can find and buy his pieces on Etsy, eBay, 1stDibs, Bukowskis and a few other modernist speciality shops & vintage collectors online including Hopea, Samantha Howard Vintage, Gråsilver, Welsh Elliott Modernism and Decopedia.
all the images in this post are courtesy of the websites mentioned and linked to above.