Unicahome was pleased to sit down and discuss the new jewelry designs from Suum. Principals Brianna Kenyon and Nava Wiegert have extensive experience in both the design and jewelry fields. Together they have designed some novel, beautiful, and highly technical architectural rings: R1, R2 and R3.
The rings are designed in four parts that are assembled by the user. A very personal design, the pieces are more like structural architecture, and need the wearer to function as a whole. Puzzle-like, the pieces have exchangeable pieces called evolvers (available separately). These pieces not only change the appearance of the rings but also connote change over time. As the wearer changes so may the rings.
Suum as a company is completely dedicated to supporting local manufacturing. Based in Michigan, the rings are manufactured in Huron County and finished by hand in Detroit.
Due to the extremely personal nature of these designs, each one is ordered and made specifically for the wearer. Delivery time is approximately 6-8 weeks.
Excerpts from an interview with the designers is below.
Available at UNICAHOME.
Additional information on the rings is available at the above link. Please contact unicahome for pricing.
AN INTERVIEW WITH SUUM
This interview is with suum principals Brianna Kenyon and Nava Wiegert. Interior Designer extraordinaire Gloria Urban stopped by and helped with the interview while she explored Suum’s works.
UH: Tell me a little about yourselves
BK: I am a graduate of the College of Creative Studies. I have a background in jewelry design.
NW: I’m a U of M Grad and have a BFA in art and design. I concentrated in jewelry design, but not because I liked it. I was inspired by what I didn’t like in the industry as a whole.
UH: Why don’t you like the jewelry industry?
NW: For me it was the emphasis on material value at the sacrifice of design. Stones being the main focus of design and you make it wearable based on the central piece. My drive was to take the human form and integrate that into the value of both form and function and create something that is smarter and more integrated as a piece that is actually applied to your body.
UH: How long have you known each other?
BK: About a decade. I was still in high school when I was approached by Matthew Hoffmann, a jewelry designer in Ann Arbor, who was looking for apprentices.
NW: I waltzed in there a few years later and sat next to her. We didn’t talk for about a month. Ten years later here we are as business partners.
UH: How long has the company been around?
NW: March 19th marked our first exposure to the public with a product for sale. We’ve been at this for a long time. We started sketching about 6 years ago in Europe. I don’t think we ever saw it as a company. This was us over-caffeinated one day and just doing it. There was a moment when we realized that we had a patentable idea.
UH: What is this product?
NW: This product is an accessory, not as an ornament, but as a partner. It is a structural dialog. It is wearable architecture. It is a result of a partnership that you build with the piece made of pieces. It is how you want to define it.
GU: Where are these products made?
BK: At Huron Tool and Engineering in Michigan. It is all made in Michigan
NW: We know because of our choice to stay locally produced our price is higher. We think it is too important to be locally produced than to send this offshore to China.
UH: Both of you don’t wear jewelry. Have you ever worn jewelry?
BK: I was passionate about jewelry. I actually came from a love for it. But my taste has evolved.
UH: Are you deliberately not wearing jewelry today?
NW: We only wear our jewelry. I wear it because I believe in what it means. There is such an integration and partnership with it that when it is not on you miss it.
UH: You are in business now and like most young businesses at this stage you are highly in debt. Do you have investors? How did you manage this?
BK: We met very special people along the way.
NW: At the right stages we seemed to meet the right people. Angels. People literally taking initiative to say, “That’s fantastic, how can we help you?” I’m humbled. It’s amazing.
UH: How many pieces are actually in production? What is the depth and breadth of the collection?
BK: This (the four-part rings) is our focus right now. We are aware that with times being as they are that we might have to start lower priced items sooner than we expected.
NW: What is important about starting this collection, which is a series of three, we thought that it was a beautiful trio of difference. The rings are complemented by the evolvers, which are a series of components that change the product over time. The design sophistication is what is important at this time. We refuse to compromise and sacrifice design even though the economic climate is what it is.
UH: One thing we didn’t mention is the name of your company, Suum
NW: Our work is very Gestalt psychology. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, quite literally. It is Latin and means “his, hers, own.”
UH: The product comes unassembled. It needs interaction by the user in order to function. Which is an interesting process on its own. One of the things I look for design is that there is something greater with the user- an attachment to the product. The assembly adds a dimension to this. There is a trick to each one.
NW: These are entirely a relationship, and a symbiotic one. For us to present a very personal relationship to the buyer isn’t proper. It is too personal for us to be involved in that. We present of the relationship for the ring to be built-the ring is built between the wearer and the ring. We had a lot of resistance.
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