Best known for his pared-back lighting creations, Cyprus-born, London-based designer Michael Anastassiades has turned his hand to minimalist jewellery, partnering with Japanese brand Shihara. ‘The most important thing to consider when designing jewellery is its relation to the human body and the space it occupies when worn,’ he says. ‘I love the improvisation behind an abstract piece and the challenge it presents when it comes to wearing it. A strong design can exist in multiple ways. Shihara jewellery has that quality.’

necklace, part of minimalist jewellery collection by Michael Anastassiades and Shihara

A shared focus on clean, minimalist silhouettes meant the brand was a natural fit for Anastassiades, whose streamlined aesthetic is reflected in a bracelet and necklaces in 18ct gold, with disrupted loops inspired by the construction lines on architectural drawings. For Shihara founder Yuta Ishihara, the collaboration was an organic one. ‘I have been a fan of Michael’s work for some time now, but it was after I saw him speak in Tokyo in 2018 that we got to know each other well, and the idea of creating a collection together was born. Our work, although very different, shares many similarities, with a minimal aesthetic and a focus on functional design.’

Adds Anastassiades, ‘Yuta’s work seems to evolve from a mathematical sequence and everything is made with incredible precision. It was so similar to my own way of thinking.’

The pair have built jewellery pieces on structural foundations, stringing short and long slender 18ct gold pipes into a pattern of interrupted lines. ‘The chains are like the construction lines used by an architectural draughtsman. They are guides with which the user can build their own ideas,’ Anastassiades says. ‘I have enjoyed exchanging ideas with Yuta. I am always surprised by how ingenious his mind is technically.’

gold necklace on tray, part of minimalist jewellery collection by Michael Anastassiades and Shihara

Ishihara’s jewellery integrates hardware into the design itself, with screws and springs creating imperceptible metal fittings and rendering the clasps invisible. ‘I like to come up with designs reimagining the functionality, and honing in on how functionality can be incorporated into the overall design,’ he says. ‘Good design to me is when the form and design best suit the intended use. Even if a design is aesthetically unfamiliar to us, it should be functional,’ he says, adding that those who see his work for the first time can be puzzled as to how to wear it.

The collection also encompasses a mirror, floor lamps of varying heights, and a tray. The last is crafted from wood sourced from Japan and treated with Japanese shiro-urushi lacquer, resulting in a glossy brown colour that will naturally fade over time. The lighting is an extension of Anastassiades’ ‘One Well-Known Sequence’ collection, teasing elongated metal tubes and LED bulbs into the same repeating pattern as the jewellery. His brass ‘Beauty’ mirror has also been rethought in a handheld size and shaped into a convex circle shape, a suspended liquid droplet of metal. ‘The homeware pieces were designed as props around the jewellery,’ says Anastassiades. ‘They are simple designs to present and reflect these ideas.’  §

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