Since 1998, WERKSTATT:MÜNCHEN crafts timeless jewellwery pieces and objects of an industrially romantic beauty.
Within the fascinating frame of L’Eclaireur’s cabinet de curiosités, we met Klaus Lohmeyer, designer and founder of the company, to discuss with him about his art and the value of craftmanship.
Klaus, how did your interest in jewellery design come about?
I couldn’t find things for myself and have been extremely attracted by the materials silver and leather. Gold came later- it’s more mature.
Have your studies at the prestigious Staatliche für Glas und Schmuck Berufsfachschule of Kaufbeuren influenced your way of working and your approach to craftmanship?
My way of working is based on the education of the combination of art and craft, that is taught there.
Are you ever been attracted by other plastic arts like sculpture?
Beauty is very important to me and pure objects can be very inspiring.
Personally I prefer making pieces where beauty, meaning and function are involved.
Which are the reasons that pushed you to set up the Munich workshop?
It was a natural process of growing.
After my first presentation in Paris I just had too much work and needed people to help me. That was the first step of setting up my company.
How does the industrial universe involves you and your interests as a person?
I appreciate some of the new technical possibilities. You can use them to save some time consuming steps. At the end of the day I am an “analogue” person and I believe that the machine can never replace the perfection of a hand in terms of aliveness.
Your pieces are entirely handmade. In the age of mechanical reproduction, how important is it to you to mantain an artisianal approach?
I think there is a strong need for true values inside all of us.
People are tired of dead things, designed and machine-made with lifeless surfaces.
Craft is nature!
How do you conceive the shape of your creations? Do you sketch before or you just work directly on primary modeling materials of wax?
In my head!
I immediately work in metal, because it’s the work in progress that bears beauty.
You cant conceive moments. Wax I only do for figurative shape.
What are the primary elements you consider in the creative process of a jewellery piece?
Beauty, meaning, function, comfort.
WERKSTATT:MÜNCHEN showcased its first collection in 1998. How is your aesthetic evolved since then?
It became finer, braver, more experimental.
Fashion and jewellery have always been extremely close to each other. How did you develop your collaboration with designers such as Ann Demeulemeester?
If you do collaborations, the respect for the company you are working with including their specific history, is extremely important, without giving up your rules and beliefs.
The beautiful thing with Ann Demeulemeester is that we connect deeply on a personal level. Sharing values and trust is essential for collaborations.
What textures inspired your latest pieces and what are their most relevant innovations compared to the ones you previously did?
Engraved mills. I engraved, punched and dis-stressed hand mills irregularly to have the marks elevated in the silver wires.
Do you think jewels are just pure ornaments to embellish the body or they held the deeper value of expressing the individual’ self?
I think jewellery first of all is emotion.
There is no emotion without meaning!
To embellish people is my work, my target is to touch them.
The individual value is created by the people wearing the jewellery.
WERKSTATT:MÜNCHEN’s pieces frequently feature naturalistic symbols, like little swallows or skulls. Which is the the meaning behind this symbolism?
We use these symbols like tattoo artists.
It’s this symbolic meaning for values like eternity, faith, love and hope.
Since its very first inception, jewellery making crossed years and ages, as if it was meant to be eternal. Could you explain the relationship between WERKSTATT:MÜNCHEN and time?
I try to develop timeless beauties which are valid much longer than one season. The target is for them to be inherited.
Jewellery is oftenly associated to a concept of luxury which has to be loudly shown off. Your essential pieces suggest the idea of a form of alternative opulence, more quite and discrete. Could you explain what is your idea of luxury?
Luxury is everything beyond the basic. In general:things of a high quality. For me luxury are things that touch my senses. At best luxury is long lasting and sustainable.