Nordic fashion label Arket is launching its first jewellery collection today, and when it came to selecting a jewellery designer to collaborate with on the project, head of design Anna Teurnell knew exactly who she wanted – Oslo-based Zuzana Spustova.
“We love to work with creatives – it gives us so much energy,” says Anna, who previously headed up design departments at H&M, & Other Stories and Marimekko before joining Arket. “I love how Zuzana uses jewellery to tie together a look. Her pieces are intuitive and conceptual, yet always extremely wearable. So, I wanted to bring an element of that and invited her to design our first jewellery collection.”
The pair first met in 2018, the year after Arket launched. Zuzana, who designs fine jewellery under her own label Neva, had just collaborated with French department store Bonpoint on a collection of Premier Diamant bracelets for children – single diamond baguettes on silk ribbons or delicate rose gold chains. Anna reached out to congratulate her on the launch and a convivial dialogue sprung up between the two creatives that soon turned professional.
Through Neva, Zuzana is known for her conceptual but minimalist work; she favours octagonal ring shapes, genderless design and cursive letter charms. Working with diamonds and gold, however, she often found herself restricted by scale. Designing the debut Arket jewellery collection was a chance to break free from this. But where to start?
Each of Neva’s collections has a rich, often confessional, storytelling behind it, and so Zuzana did what she does best – research. Having living in Norway for the past 11 years, the Slovakian jeweller had a good grip on Scandi design and the history and ethos of her adopted home, but she dug deeper in search of a seed of inspiration. In the end, she found it a little closer to home.
“One day, I was sitting on my desk and doing something completely different, when I crunched a used sheet of paper I was writing on and threw it into paper bin,” recalls Zuzana. “In that moment I realised, ‘wow, what an organic shape’. I literally went to kitchen, took aluminium foil and asked my oldest son to come and help me. We started to crunch and create shapes from aluminium. I instinctively knew I was on the right path. Nothing compares to the feeling when, as a designer, you know that this is it.
The process reminded her of Italian artist Lucio Fontana, who founded the Spatialism, or Spazialismo, movement in the 1940s, and is famed for his three-dimensional artworks that slash and pierce through canvases. “Crunching paper felt the same,” she says. “I loved the shape. It was paper, but far from origami. It was organic and free.”
The resulting costume jewellery collection for Arket, priced from £10 to £55, is a celebration of this spontaneous crunching. Crafted in brass and plated with 14ct gold or silver, the collection includes circular choker necklaces and bangles with compressed edges, and double-stud earrings that are a quite literal interpretation of the crumpled tinfoil at Zuzana’s kitchen table. The collection also makes a nod to Neva’s hexagonal rings with pinky ring stacking sets that include one rhinestone-studded band and one with the crumpled effect that disrupts the perfect circle.
The Zuzana Spustova x Arket jewellery collection is conceptual but wearable, and buildable – therefore lies in perfect harmony with the label’s wider aesthetic. “It is a collection that offers pieces that transcend the categories of casual and eveningwear, which also simplifies their everyday choices,” sums up Anna, who hints that this could be the first of many jewellery designer collaborations for Arket. “At Arket, we constantly want to evolve and create an offer that simplifies choices to make everyday life more beautiful. The jewellery concept is a great compliment to the rest of the Arket collections and has been a work in progress for quite some time that now finally will be available.”