In Search of Lost Timeby Eyal de Leeuw | 11.10.17
Every conversation with the Swiss born jewellery designer Hadar Michaëla Nornberg is a curious journey into time and culture—a thoughtful trip to the golden ages of arts and crafts. During her early days, Nornberg was surrounded by arts, classical music and European culture so it seems natural that she follows a certain path of design and form thinking. Telavivian invited the designer to talk to us about her brand and her recent, unusual collaboration with artist Katerina Jebb, who used her parents’ personal photographs and juxtaposed them with Nornberg’s jewelry pieces.
Nornberg created her own brand, focusing on fine jewelry in 2012. It was launched during the 2014 Paris Fashion Week and since then has grown slowly but steadily. The pieces are sold today at the prestigious Dover Street Market in London and NYC, Maxfield LA and Cahier D’exercices in Montreal. The designer divides her time between Paris and Tel Aviv where she produces her work.
Can you tell us where you started thinking about your professional designs?
I first studied fashion in both Paris and Tokyo. During and after the studies, I worked for Rick Owens in Paris and NYC showrooms, focusing on the commercial aspects of design. Following these experiences, I discovered that my true passion was in fact in jewelry design. In order to deepen this interest, I decided to go back to the basics; explore old methods of jewelry making and add a contemporary vision to it. I moved to Florence to study at the Alchimia School and learn from great masters how to work with gold, silver and platinum while researching and using unconventional materials in order to explore new dimensions and forms.
What is the nature of your collaboration with Katerina Jebb?
I first encountered Katerina’s work when Commes Des Garçons released their commercial for perfume. I found it so unusual—truly captivating and subversive. The integration of moving images, music and voice overs was very strong, creative and mystical.
For a very long time, I have wanted to communicate differently. I wished to find the right balance, tone and to send an honest yet creative statement without being too literal. When I finally met Katerina we had a wonderful and natural connection. We exchanged and discussed influences in literature, music and fashion and since I wanted to merge my collections into one story as if they are an ongoing series, this idea came into place.
What did it feel like to have a third party intervene into your personal family history?
There was no feeling of intervene since Katerina was respectful throughout the whole process. It was about observation from all parties and angles. Katerina kept her integrity and didn’t want to manipulate the photographs too much. The photos that my father took of my mother in the late 60s and 70s were so strong on their own, and so Katerina felt that the only powerful addition would be to place the jewelry in a smart, thoughtful manner. There was a great sense of trust—I connect to her work, experience and way of thinking.
How do the aesthetics of the images relate to your work today?
There is a deep connection between the aesthetics of the photos that my dad took, the persona (my mother) and my pieces. The first is obvious, I grew up observing my mom and I always appreciated her sense of style, taste, gestures and presence. My line is in many ways is an extension of what I have witnessed throughout the years—I bring my own voice into my line, but it has roots.
My dad also had a great influence in the way he noticed and captured those moments and put them in place. He understands graphics, forms and order because he comes from the world of numbers where everything needs to make sense. My mom comes from the world of music, therefore she brings fragility, delicacy and elegance. I strive to bring all these qualities together and balance them into my own language.