by Jincy IypeJun 12, 2023
Is it possible to translate the intangible whisper of the wind, into a tangible, captivating piece of jewellery?
Such a challenge demands a harmonious, meticulous blend of creativity, technical expertise, craftsmanship, as well as an intimate understanding of the patterns and movements of wind—Italian designer and architect Mario Trimarchi tapped into this research to conceive the Fiato sul collo Necklace for the iconic design brand Alessi, crafting an incredibly graphic and airy sculpture articulated in fragmented stainless-steel chips.
Also the designer of Alessi’s 'La Stanza dello Scirocco' collection, Trimarchi crafted a minimalist jewellery range in the same decorative and visual language with the Fiato Sul Collo Necklace (translating literally to ‘breath on the neck'), "that looks like small pieces of paper blown by the wind," he shares.
As elegant and fabulously unpredictable as the whims of nature, the product design’s distinct sculptural form is a remarkable feat articulated in stainless steel, combining fine rectangular steel plates in an arrhythmic, lightly adjustable form, wrapping around the wearer’s neck. The jewellery collection for Alessi now has a necklace and earrings—“then, thanks to the immediate success of the products, a ring and a bracelet were added,” Trimarchi informs.
In a captivating fusion of minimal design, fragility, and grace, Trimarchi’s jewellery design, like the rest of the collection, leaps boldly into the realm of ‘unstable geometries,’ beckoning the very essence of wind wrapping around a woman’s neck. In his own words—"The main inspiration for the concept of the necklace was to wrap wind around a woman's neck. In this case, the wind tells us of the passing of time, of the many things to do immediately, of those frenetic and multitasking activities that fill every moment of our ephemeral lives.”
An artistic ode to the whisper of the wind
Manifested with laser cut and folded, painted stainless steel, in black, white, and natural silvery tones, 'La Stanza dello Scirocco,’ the larger collection designed for Alessi, is also based on the enquiry, how to design the wind?
The modern living collection is expressed in geometrically irregular contemporary designs made up of small steel tiles of various sizes, and interlaced in an ‘unstable balance,’ including the ‘Alisei’ earrings, a fruit holder, wall clock, basket, centrepiece, lamp design, and bracelet. A special, limited edition, hand-plated in 24-kt. gold was made in 2016 for the Neiman Markus department store, while a special collection suitably customised with a red parallelogram-shaped splinter was created for the Audi Sports merchandising, replete with a key ring, a wall clock, and a fruit basket, all notable instances elevating the Italian design landscape.
"A family of objects for the table, which was born around the story of a magical and abstract place, where one is forced to stay and where everything is unstable—the room in which you lock yourself away to shelter from the sirocco (a hot, often dusty, or rainy wind blowing from North Africa across the Mediterranean to southern Europe). It is a collection of arhythmic objects, composed of small splinters joined together by points in unstable equilibrium. They were designed starting from their shadows, stopping unexpected moments of fragments that the wind stirs in the air. Shadows that want to reach the edges of the table and go beyond, to the walls and the ceiling," the collaborators expand on the collection’s concept.
“In the large old country houses of Sicily, almost concealed inside their structures and completely surrounded by other rooms, the sirocco room can be found. Windowless, it is the only space where one can live when the sand-bearing wind is unleashed from the African desert, blowing incessantly for three days. It is an abstract place that one is forced to inhabit, but one that one looks forward to abandoning the return to everyday existence. This condition of unpredictability, of transitional space, the ever-present sensation that the door will be blown wide open to find papers, notebooks and drawings strewn everywhere, is not unlike everyday life itself. The sirocco room is the place where silence protects objects and where the objects, in turn, rejoice at their suspended short-lived instability,” they continue.
Trimarchi, who has previously said that ‘poetry comes from the object itself,’ relays that the material articulating the accessory design was chosen due to its characteristics of ‘brilliance’ and its anti-allergic properties. "Thanks to the unstable geometry of the splinters that make up the necklace, all on different planes, the necklace partially lights up and shines according to the movement of ambient lights,” the product designer tells STIR.
Fiato sul collo is unexpected jewellery, like cheerful thoughts, a whispered wish for unstable survival, for timeless beauty in a world that no longer knows what to do with time. - Mario Trimarchi
The Italian architect had previously decided to close the necklace at the nape, but in the end, thought otherwise, and let the wearable design remain open at the wearer’s back, giving it another unexpected and attractive element. “The design element that most interested me, in this case, was being able to design a product based on the shape of the neck and shoulder bones, a metal object that manages to adapt (because it is slightly flexible) to the shape of the body of the person wearing it. In short, the jewellery becomes a sort of miniature metal dress,” Trimarchi mentioned in an exclusive interview with STIR.
"In this necklace, a mosaic of identical steel shapes float around the neck, where origin and destination are mere points on a continuum of play. Whether the geometric order of his work is random or intentional, (it) does not matter—it’s an expression of Trimarchi’s creative transformation—a certain and beautiful thing,” states Erica Zora Wrightson (AUDI MAGAZINE – edition 106), endorsing the necklace’s enchanting chorus of angles defying conventional norms to command attention.
Expounding on the brief shared by, and the collaboration with Alessi, a housewares and kitchen utensil company in Italy, Trimarchi shares with STIR, “I had just designed the family of trays of ‘La Stanza dello Scirocco,’ and that type of fragmented geometry had been accepted by the market in an exciting way, and no one truly expected it. Therefore, Alessi was interested in understanding all the possible typological consequences of the application of asymmetrical, syncopated, unpredictable geometries within various facets of design.”
The mirror-polished stainless steel of the sculptural design bequeaths the wearer an immediate avant-garde, silvery, and stylistic presence, suiting all complexions in its mesmeric interplay of form, shadow, and voids. Whimsical like a wind’s whisper, the Fiato Sul Collo Necklace designed by Mario Trimarchi strikes an elegant balance between full and empty spaces, intertwining with the magic of the light and dark playing together. As the designer relays, the piece of jewellery is as unexpected as brilliant ideas, as asymmetrical as morning rain, and as badly organised as dreams of liberty.
Commenting on his plans, Trimarchi tells STIR, “I am more and more attracted by the possibility of designing jewellery, and I am studying a new collection. Perhaps it will remain in my drawers, perhaps it will have the opportunity to become real-for the moment, I'll move on.”