Gems of wisdom

In Vann Kwok In-wai’s world, beauty is about nature, roughness, irregularity and surprises.

Cara Chen

Friday, October 16, 2020

In Vann Kwok In-wai’s world, beauty is about nature, roughness, irregularity and surprises.

The jewelry designer applies this aesthetic in her brand Vann and her concept shop at the chi K11 Art Space in Tsim ShaTsui. The A Little Too Real: An Enchanted Dream by Vann popup will be open until November 1.

Kwok said the basis of her designs is shapes and colors. “Gold and silver accessories can be seen in abundance, and I want something more fun and fresh,” Kwok said.

As such, in the three collections since the launch of her brand last year, there have been blue twisted and elongated hearts, yellow smiley pockmarked faces and chains in the form of molten metal.

“I embrace the nature of materials and experiment with materials’ response to forces such as gravity, weight, cooling and heating, pressure, and their effects – melting, free fl owing and bending,” Kwok said. “These result in odd, misshapen, or awkward forms juxta posed with a linear structure.”

The inspiration came from her years in London. After getting a degree in fashion design from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2005 and working as a stylist, costume designer and art director in the media industry for seven years, Kwok decided to take a break.

She enrolled in the Fashion Artefact master’s program at the University of the Arts London, which allowed her to explore ideas that push the boundaries of art and fashion.

Eventually, her interest in using metal and resin to create wearable objects led her to become a contemporary jewelry designer.

“My work sits between art, fashion and jewelry, with an emphasis on material innovation and interaction. They are informed by historical references to painting and sculpture,” Kwok said.

For her graduation video, (Out of) Flux, the objects filmed are composed of lines and organic-shaped metal or resin, in which the wearer’s body is divided by lines. The effect is like a three-dimensional sculpture in a fl at picture. The design was awarded the ITS Jewellery Prize in Italy and the Arts Foundation Jewellery Award in Britain in 2016.

This video can be seen in the concept shop’s first space, named A Sneak Peak of Dream.

The space gradually narrows to a thin entrance that reflects colors from the area to follow, including neon pink, purple and green.

This is the second part of the concept store, Into the Rabbit Hole, a winding psychedelic neon path. Passing through the Rabbit Hole, the audience becomes smaller, like in Alice in Wonderland, entering a space where jewelrylike items are magnified and leave traces everywhere, Living with Jewelry.

For example, in Bathroom, the sink becomed a hand-shaped rack displaying Kwok’s rings. The faucet is in the shape of an earring, while the basin is full of crystals.

A mirror on the wall is framed by melting green hearts, while a whole roll of paper towels is made of crystal-encrusted cloth.

Next to the sink is a shower area enclosed by a red shower curtain with ornaments shaped like earrings from Vann, such as smiley faces, bacteria and meteorite rings.

Crystals threaded together mimic a column of water, with huge droplets represented by Vann’s molten metal Drip Earrings. The drops can also be seen on the shade of the floor lamp in Bedroom.

A closer look will reveal details such as a sandwich on a plate stuffed with colorful jewelry and sneaker laces made of necklaces.

The clocks on the ground are framed by a red melting heart – in the style of Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory.

As Kwok says, many of her designs have never left the discussion of time and space, and visiting museums while studying in London allowed her to continue to draw inspiration from paintings and sculptures.

Although Kwok has worked with leading figures in the fi lm industry, such as William Chang and Zhang Yimou, and clients such as Apple, HSBC, Sony, HP and CitiBank, she has never played with the theme of jewelry in such a large space as the K11 Art Space.

So when she got the chance, she decided to design the last space as a home-themed jewelry world. “Home is such an important theme this year since the epidemic hit as people all over the world spend much more time at home than ever before,” she said.

Many people begin to pay more attention to family intimacy during the pandemic, which was often overlooked before. It’s like when walking in the wonderland of her creation – you need to pay close attention to spot the glittering jewelry, she said.