The Central Saint Martins jewellery designer Capucine Huguet went - quite literally - above and beyond for the creation of her ‘Wahlenbergbreen mementoes’ graduate collection, capturing the ephemerality of the melting process of glaciers. The French designer’s work pays tribute to the arctic and act as constant reminders of what is being lost. Previously interning at Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, we had the pleasure of speaking with the the Global Young Talent in light of her publication in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar about arctic travels, sustainability and the future of jewellery design.

Tell us a bit about yourself, you’re originally from France yet moved to London to study at the prestigious Central Saint Martins, what inspired you to move overseas and study jewellery design?


I started to study fine jewellery at the Haute Ecole de Joaillerie Paris. During my four years, I learnt the codes and techniques of high-end jewellery making, and was further schooled at internships at Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. After my graduation, I wanted to improve my skills in jewellery design and to deep dive in my final project which focused on the Arctic, because I wanted to highlight environmental issues through jewellery design. I strongly believe jewels are able to embody values and beliefs. Choosing Central Saint Martins appeared as the best choice to challenge myself and integrate an international environment.
 
 
Your work has strong ties with sustainability as it communicates the unrecoverable impact of the melting glaciers, what lead you to this source of inspiration?

I have always been impressed by the force of Nature, the landscapes’ diversity and all amazing natural sites such as Grand Canyon or Icelandic glaciers. During many family trips, I realised how our planet is fabulous, but also craves protection. By creating a collection which raises awareness about melting glaciers my goal is to start a discussion that inspires people to think about climate change. I chose to focus on the Arctic where the changes happen the fastest, and are irreversible. To nurture my research, I travelled to Svalbard archipelago in the North Pole during Summer 2019, to meet scientists and study ice melting. The devastating scale of change crystallised the issues for the collection.

“By creating a collection which raises awareness about melting glaciers my goal is to start a discussion that inspires people to think about climate change.”

 
 

Your rings take the shape very interesting geometric shapes, how can we imagine your design process?

My design process started in Svalbard, where I tried to understand the landscapes, why the erosion, why the fissures, why all the changes? Through analysis I chose which issues I wanted to highlight, and reviewed carefully the pictures I took over there. Then I studied melting snowflakes under electronic microscope. I was fascinated by the diversity of geometric forms I founded, and I tried to use these unusual shapes to express the melting ice. The idea was to freeze in metal the ephemeral melting snowcrystals, to make permanent what is being lost. The hexagonal structure of the ice is also used for many ring shanks.

“I was fascinated by the diversity of geometric forms I founded, and I tried to use these unusual shapes to express the melting ice. The idea was to freeze in metal the ephemeral melting snow crystals, to make permanent what is being lost. The hexagonal structure of the ice is also used for many ring shanks.”

 
 

 
One of the main topics dealt with your work is sustainability, in what aspects is your collection sustainable and why is this a topic so dear to your heart?

Like most the people of my generation, I cannot ignore the climate emergency, and sustainability is part of my daily life for a long time. In Svalbard, the scientists insisted to tackle climate change, everything relies on communication and science outreach. That’s why my collection is about raising awareness and communication. It is up to me and it is non-negotiable to work as sustainably as possible. I only use recycled metals (gold and silver), conflict-free gemstones, eco-packaging, and pieces are made by myself in Paris. I also imagine jewellery as sustainable objects made to be kept and pass from one generation to another, far from fast fashion.
 
 

 
What have you learnt during your time at university and what tips do you have for future jewellery design students?

I learnt that I am stronger than I thought! Two years ago, I would never have imagined travelling alone to the northernmost settlement of the planet. I also learnt to deal with permanent self-questioning and a huge amount of doubts. My tip could be: ‘Stay stick to your values!’ It is so important to do something we really care about, something we feel passionate about! Do not follow trends, if you do what you like, people will see it and understand the value of your work!

“Do not follow trends, if you do what you like, people will see it and understand the value of your work! ”


Discover Capucine Huguet's full collection




Words by Lupe Baeyens
 
 
 
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