Five minutes with… Gitte Nygaard
Part of the Public Design Festival, brand-new area Cascina Cuccagna plays host to a few Dutch designers. Among them, jewellery designer Gitte Nygaard.
It's your first time presenting work in Milan, any thoughts so far?
"The Cascina Cuccagna is a new exhibition space set up as a farmstead, with different designers and studios occupying the various rooms and courtyards. The spaces are great, really rough with graffitti all over the place, it's an ideal location to show my work."
Tell us about the collection from Binchotan and Black.
"I designed jewellery from charred wood combined with fair trade gold and silver. The material is made using ancient alchemy techniques in Japan, everything else, I do myself. Thanks to the nature of the material, I don't need to alter it much - the imperfections give detail to the pieces - but the shapes are based on the cut of gemstones."
Charred wood, doesn't it just crumble when manipulated?
"No, thats the amazing thing. Thanks to the technique used, the wood turns as hard as any ceramic material, I need a diamond cutter to carve it! The end product is 90% carbon which is why i use the term 'Skip the diamond'."
How did you come across this unusual material?
"In Japan, charred wood is used in many ways: as a water purifier, in food dishes, even as a musical instrument. I always try and push myself as a designer, using unconventional production methods or pushing the boundaries of a new material."
So what message do you want your work to convey?
"Because I use fair trade gold from Colombia, along with this sustainable 'coal', I hope people who buy my work think about what they are buying, instead of just consuming."
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