Interview with Jewelry Design Sebastián Plah

Interview, Jewellery, Top Stories

Interview with Jewelry Design Sebastián Plah

A unique creative process where movement is translated and contextualized in shapes, colors, and various elements of my beloved Cartagena de Indias.

Sebastián Plah (born 2001, in Barranquilla, Colombia) is a Colombo-Spanish Jewelry designer, graduated in Jewelry design BA at IED Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy.

The kinetic aspect of your jewelry is part of one of the new trends in the sector, how much do new technologies help you in this process?

One of the greatest beauties of a jewelry piece is it’s virtue of making real a story that is important to us. In my case it’s all about the growth and expansion of ourselves as human beings, that’s where my fascination with movement comes from. Movement prevents us from being still and act towards what we want to achieve in our life.

As we can see in my ¨Guacamaya¨ earrings, movement is expressed from the conceptual way to the physical form, taking inspiration from the movement of the dances of the carnival of my city Barranquilla. I saw the movement of the performers as lines that represented their spirit: their energy. A process that transcends from the physical to the spiritual part of ourselves and is articulated vertically with their compositions, colors and motion giving rise to live on their own through the act of being worn.

In this case everything started experimentally, with prototypes that I made by hand with clay and other different materials and then my vision was shaped digitally with 3D modeling techniques and the beautiful animations which I presented at Dario Rjeili´s amazing initiative: Digital Jewelry Week giving me my first big opportunity to finally expose myself at a big show ¨VicenzaOro¨ to make my pieces in their final materials: Gold, diamonds and anodized titanium that, through color and gradient tones, expands the concept, making the final work the end of the beginning of this performance in motion.

A performance of the soul

Mine is a fine jewelry collection realized in 3D printed Anodized titanium, 18 karat Gold and diamonds. inspired by the energy and freedom portrayed in dances from the Colombian Caribbean coast, a unique creative process where movement is translated and contextualized in shapes, colors, and various elements of my beloved Cartagena de Indias.

Movement in jewelry also means lightness. What is your approach to choosing materials that have a lower specific gravity than the more well-known alloys but are equally precious?

From the moment I pursued my studies in this magical profession at the “Istituto Europeo di Design” in Milan, my creations began to take on a 360-degree logic, from their concept to the material I chose.I have always been a fan of designing long and large earrings, but I did not have earlobe holes or use earrings myself, my designs were often possible to make only on paper. I remember how a teacher commented to me that if I wanted my pieces to be used by real people I had to find a way to make them as light as possible, and my challenge would be how to aesthetically maintain my vision without compromising their functionality.

From there my focus changed and I concentrated on researching different materials approaching Titanium as my dream material, only weighing ¼ part of gold it allowed me to give life to my creations not only for its lightness but by its ability to be colored with its anodizing process, this opened a new wave of opportunities and inspiration for me.
Combined with the classic approach I loved of jewelry with the 18K yellow gold in balanced proportions, Titanium is the perfect innovative material to express my style: Color and movement! What could be more Latin?

I choose to dance to life, I like to think that dancing is within my Latin veins; not only because of its interpretation as an act but because of its meaning and transcendence as a way of growth and transformation.
Growing up in my native Barranquilla, surrounded by an explosion of sounds, movement, color and strength; Has provoked in me an inexhaustible source of energy of possibility. The fantastic moment of moving freely from within to the rhythm of the music from faraway lands, the surreal fascination experienced both as a performer and as a spectator on different levels is almost fantastic; putting everything into perspective; making every fantasy feel possible.

In your jewelry we read the influence of jungle creatures. How much is the extreme nature of your places of origin expressed in your creations?

I consider myself a fan of the wholesome beauty of my country. Not only because it has an incredible biodiversity: (The largest number of species of birds and butterflies in the world) but also because of the approach being Colombian gave to the meaning and way in which I understand life and learned to relate to it. The beauty of a wild creature not only lies in its exterior but also in its spirit. I love birds for their ability to majestically fly high, and butterflies for their capacity for transformation and beauty acquired after a hard process, they are all concepts applicable to our lives and it’s an act of empathy and imagination to feel and admire their beauty from their essence and story.

This is also something very common in my culture, as our traditional dances often come from the relationship of us and nature. Mapalé, for example, is a dance that represents fish when they are about to die after being caught, a waste of energy that takes your breath away but makes you continue and keep fighting. I grew up fascinated through folklore. My father was a musician, so I grew up listening to him playing rhythms from my native Barranquilla, that’s another reason why I love dance and music.

If we talk about music and culture, I also have to mention the ‘Cayena earrings’, a piece that take their inspiration from the bright hibiscus flower which is a symbol of the city of Barranquilla in parallel with the Cumbia dance. Another way to call it in Colombia is “Arrebata macho” which means “male seducer”, referring to the fact that Colombian women adorn their hair with hibiscus of different colors to enhance their beauty, thus attracting men. During the Cumbia dance, women make their voluminous skirts swirl and men approach them while dancing without ever touching. It’s like a seductive game made of allusive encouragement and sudden retreat. I learned in life that everything is related to everything and it is up to us to learn to be interpreters of that beauty that surrounds us.

You are a very young designer and that is why it is essential to ask yourself: what are your references in the history of high jewelry?

I declare myself a lover of beautiful things, and that is why I really enjoy learning, not only about jewelry, but also about fashion, art and architecture.The task of seeking inspiration and references in an eclectic way has been my lifestyle growing up between the cultures of Colombia and Spain with a cultural mix household. Traveling, living, discovering combining styles in an eclectic and free way is what I find fascinating about life.

From my admiration with Gaudí’s architecture, that makes me feel like a child again walking in a fantasy: the profound paintings of Rothko, a dream of colors, or the seduction of the deep and inexplicable feelings of a Fontana. Also I love fashion and the beautiful and sublime creations of John Galliano for Christian Dior; those shows with their splendure, seductive and theatrical catwalks that made me transport to a different reality growing up. But my true love is the sublime jewelry creations that transcend the imagination: JAR (Joel Arthur Rosental), in high jewelry, is an artist I truly admire with his beautiful way of using color, proportion and sparkle in his works in an elegant way.

I also greatly admire Latin designers who are setting the bar high. I dream with their stories and wish for their legacy to be followed by me. They are proof that my dream of bringing Latin America to the world of high fashion it’s possible. Fernando Jorge with his beautiful seductive jewelry, or Silvia Tcherassi with her effortless elegance that combines perfectly color in a timeless way, or Edgardo Osorio with his footwear that would make any woman dream. Last but not least, i’m very honored to be accompanied at this part of my creative journey
with the masters and mentors in the launching of my career: Alessia Crivelli (Creative director or Crivelli) and Alessio Boschi (Creative director of Alessio Boschi Design) being part of their project ¨The 8¨ and having their example and perspectives as proof that in this world of beauty and creativity, with a giving heart all of the dreams for us creatives are achievable if we set our hearts to it!

What type of woman are your jewelry created for?

I started designing jewelry at a very young age. Since I was 15 I have the image of sitting and sketching in the living room of my clients’ houses and just talking about what we like: Art, fashion, design, culture, beautiful destinations to visit, the beautiful things in life.

Whenever I sit down to design, I enjoy thinking that I do it for women like that, who love life and find their strength in their optimism and desire to discover the world around them. That is what lights my heart with passion and it is priceless to see the face of happiness and satisfaction of a woman who feels beautiful when wearing one of my creations, that is why I do what I do. My jewelry fulfills its objective if it enhances the internal and external beauty of the wearer.

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