MPA Collective: a jewellery brand created by Maryvonne Wellen, Phylicia Gilijamse, and Anne Achenbach.
They met each other in Düsseldorf in 2007, during their studies of Applied Arts and Design. After graduation, they moved to different cities to continue their studies – London, Düsseldorf, and Munich. Though not in the same place geographically, they have maintained a strong connection on a personal as well as professional level. With the help of Skype, they are still able to discuss their designs, processes, and thoughts as a group while sitting in front of computers. Therefore, in the fall of 2014, they decided to team up and initiated the jewellery collective MPA. This year they will present their jewellery at the designer market at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2015. Be ready to buy their products then!
Q&A with designers:
How would you describe your work? What is your technique?
The jewellery of MPA can be defined by its clean graphic lines and strong volumes with little to no ornamentation. The designs are minimalistic and pure, yet unexpectedly inventive with functional details. MPA's designs express quiet female strength and confidence, without being demanding or extravagant. Great attention is paid to material expression. Instead of choosing for high glossy materials bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants are executed in non-precious metals, polymers and wood, surfaces are textured, matte and have a reduced color palette. We have a similar approach to designing but each individual MPA member has their own approach that can be recognized in the pieces. The three of us use a broad range of techniques to produce a large variety of wearable jewellery. We blend traditional goldsmithing methods with the latest techniques, like 3D printing.
"MPA's designs express quiet female strength and confidence, without being demanding or extravagant."
Have you shown your collections before? If so, where?
Individually we have participated in group and solo exhibitions in a contemporary art jewellery context. With MPA, we want to reach out to a different audience. StijlMarkt Düsseldorf in Germany and Finders Keepers in Copenhagen, Denmark were the first events were MPA collectively presented their work.
Who are your artistic influences or inspirations? Why?
Three of us all have our own heros and examples in the world of art, design and fashion. We do research, observe, take in, love and are inspired by some of the artists, styles and visualities that are out there. A wild mix comes to mind: BAUHAUS, Marc Monzo, Hella Jongerius, Grayson Perry, Kenzo, Memphis, Calder, Art Deco, Manish Arora, Minimalism, Gijs Bakker, Celine, Scholten & Baijings , Marni, Michel Gondry, Debussy and Henrik Vibskov. We admire the aesthetics, persistence, inventiveness, and personality of these individuals, labels or styles.
Finding your own voice is difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity?
Pressure is no good. Creativity doesn't work if it HAS TO HAPPEN. When an idea is there, you focus, research, experiment and develop it. MPA is interested in lines and shapes of our everyday surrounding, such as architecture or an object of daily use, and draw inspiration from that. Or, a design may start from an investigation in a material, exploring how to use and transform it. Another inspiration also comes from the design aesthetics of different cultures and their histories.
What was the most important thing your parents taught you, that you now bring into your work?
Probably the most important thing is to be persistent and to continue to follow our paths. When others see quality in the work that you are doing and show you support, it gives confidence and strength to maintain focused and strive forward.
Are you a people's person or a loner?
Both, at the same time. In our private lives, we love to be with our great group of friends, to be social and have fun. But we also find it nice and more productive to be by our own. The creation of our own designs within the collective allows us to stay individual while being able to strengthen each other. We discuss our designs, exchange ideas, work together and support each other.
What are the key factors in your design?
Material expression, innovation, simplicity, functionality, essentialism and purity.
What makes your items different from others? What is your designing philosophy?
For MPA, it is important to create designs that are simple and smart. We focus on the aesthetic quality of materials, shapes and volumes. Although our designs are conceptual, we use little narrative elements or ornamentation.
What does your collection try to communicate? What is about?
MPA's designs express quiet female strength and confidence, without being demanding or extravagant. Furthermore, it communicates a love for simplicity, innovation and material matter.
"Fashion is a way for self-expression and communication."
Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH?
We want to address a new audience that jewellery is a part of fashion, a way to communicate and express yourself. We want to present to the FASHIONCLASH visitors with the jewellery that differs from the seasonal mass-produced pieces you might find at retail-clothing companies or high-end jewellery shops, at the same time, wearable, affordable and able to underline an individual look.
What can we expect from you at the festival?
At FASHIONCLASH 2015, the MPA collective will present a combination of jewellery pieces from their latest collections. The designs will be minimalistic and pure, yet unexpectedly inventive with functional details. You can find a large range of bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants in non-precious metals, polymers and wood, surfaces are textured, matte and in a reduced color palette.
Who are your target consumers? How do you define them?
We would love everyone to wear our jewellery. But we think our pieces will be most appreciated by people who love craftsmanship as well as technical and formal progression. We aim at a public that loves interesting design and sees quality in details and material.
What is your price range?
Our prices vary from € 50 to € 500.
How do you balance between the function of the items and the appearance of them?
We feel that jewellery design is an applied discipline where the ability to wear a piece on the body is the main function. Function and appearance have to compliment one another.