Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today we visit the sprawling estate located in Ipswich, Massachusetts known as Castle Hill. Once owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard T. Crane, the estate encapsulates finely coiffed landscapes, over twenty outbuildings, and a majestic mansion. Massachusetts is also home to jewelry design team Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg.

Oftentimes I forget that jewelry design and creation is as much a cerebral act as it is an act of instinct.

For me, the heart of creativity seems to lie within a deeper, intangible space that is not necessarily connected to the unambiguous functions of the intellect.

However, such jewelry artists as Marty Reynard (USA) and Simon Cottrell (Australia) are great examples of the inherent structured, almost scientific, quality of this art form. Rosenkrantz and Louis-Rosenberg's jewelry brand Nervous System is a fantastic representation of the keen intellectualism of jewelry making.

The designers met while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) no less with Rosenkrantz studying architecture and biology, while Louis-Rosenberg majored in mathematics. They launched their company in 2007, two years after graduation.

"We are attracted to complex and unconventional geometries. Jessica is more interested in the interactions between forms and process," says Louis-Rosenberg, "My interest is in creating our designs in an open-source way using affordable and ethical manufacturing methods."

To create their unusual designs, the duo enlists graphic designer John Maeda's program called Processing to cultivate patterns that are "grown" using algorithms. Selective Laser Sintering and etching are implemented to produce these intricate patterns in tangible forms that mimic plant cells, honeycomb, dendrites, and sea anemones.

An array of materials including 24-karat gold plated stainless steel, nylon, silicone rubber, stainless steel, and wool felt are used to construct ethereal yet complex earrings, bracelets, and pendant necklaces.

I like that many of the lacy designs are patterned after the building blocks of the natural world, like cells, as opposed to something like a leaf or flower.  However, their Orchid Necklace is a stunning floral depiction of over fifty layers of sculpted stainless steel.

It is interesting that our inner space so to speak mirrors the outside world; outstretched tree branches are not unlike the spidery veins of our nervous system. It is all very poetic and lyrical with elements of transience and no sense of creepiness.

"Our inspiration is grounded in the natural forms and processes that construct our world, this is an essential ingredient to our design process. Our trajectory focuses on creating innovative products," says Louis-Rosenberg.

"The generative aspect of our design process allows us to also create mass, custom-made patterns," says Louis-Rosenberg.

"Our studio exploits this by releasing our work online as a series of interactive applets that customers can use to craft personalized jewelry products."
Photo 1 (top right): 24-Karat Gold Plated Stainless Steel Algae Bloom Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): White Silicone Radiolaria Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): Fuchsia Wool Radial Necklace
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