Last night marked the launch of “The Garden of Good and Evil”.
A month long exhibition of the collective works of jewellery designer, Tomasz Donocik at the Garrard flagship store on Albemarle Street London.
Ever since becoming the Creative Director of Garrard, I hoped at some point to be able to offer a platform for new and outstanding talent in the jewellery industry.
I come across many young jewellers and designers, either through giving talks at colleges, Goldsmiths Hall or judging competitions amd felt that there was never an easy time for the up and coming to gain exposure to potential luxury consumers. The exception being Goldsmiths Fair, now well and truly on the jewellery collectors calender.
On the whole, shelf space in the true luxury capital of London’s West end is premium real estate. While making a song and dance about fine art, music and prestigious cultural events, jewellery brand’s never knowingly support young named talent within the industry. This leaves retail jewellers or galleries which is a problem. With the exception of the Electrum on South Molton Street, jewellery galleries in the west end don’t really exist. As for good quality retail jewellers who actively promote emerging talent the pickin’s are slim. Department stores being the best bet; Selfridges, Liberty and Harrods all have areas for creative lesser known designers but outside of those the independent options which are few and far between and tend to fall into the neighbourhoods such as EC1 in Notting Hill.
Back to Garrard. Because Garrard was not a brand built from the work of a single source, such as Cartier, Boucheron, Bulgari etc but more a destination offering an extraordinary selection of treasures, covering all the related trades and crafts surrounding the jewellery and silversmithing industries. This meant it always had the potential to excite its clients who included Royalty when they conspicuously consumed or rock Royalty once they had a platinum selling album, by showcasing or commissioning works by creative people from all over the UK. There was however always strict criteria to be met. This included the materials used, craftsmanship, original design and star quality.
Having benefited from this facility earlier in my career, I planned to revive the tradition as soon as the time was right and the candidates identified.
In 2006 while on the judging panel for the Goldsmiths award at the New Designers exhibition I came across Tomasz. He was graduating from the RCA and unlike many of his fellow graduates, Tomasz was showing work that was creative, non-derivative, beautifully made and instantly recognisable as luxurious jewellery and accessories. I say unlike the others because to cover so many basic codes these days from a person essentially still at art school is a very rare quality.
Ever since that time I have encouraged, engaged and in some ways mentored the natural talent that Tomasz has. The work shown at the opening last night, complete with the amazing environment Tomasz generated and installed himself (with a little help from his long suffering girlfriend Kate) was a real spectacle. The reaction from customers proved to us and those who were seeing his work for the first time that he has a great future ahead of him.
We feel fortunate to be in a position where through Garrard, we can once again be seen as a destination for excitement.
The Garden of Good and Evil will run from October 25th through November 24th at the Garrard Flagship Store