say hi to_ Uncommon Matters
Designer Amélie Riech is the creative director and founder of the brand Uncommon Matters, under the label she creates jewellery and objects that will satisfy all your aesthetic needs at once. Coming from a background in architecture and fashion design, Amélie has an amazing eye for minimalism and elegance, and with those eyes she has created a number of different accessories that are equally exciting. From architectural chokers and bracelets to geometric rings that are coloured in a stunning array of pastels, we adore the pieces by Uncommon Matters.
My first obsession was Amélies work for Paco Rabanne, architectural pieces that exude a feeling of luxury and simplicity that is timeless. In 2016 she created the jewellery for the spring and autumn shows for Roksanda which are build up out of a beautiful combination of geometric shapes and golden line work that seems to flow around the wrist of the wearer. Within those two collections, who remind me of a modern version of art deco jewellery, you can see how Amélie dissects her own work and builds toward the next collection, always moving forward based on her previous work and new inspiration.
The style of the pieces through the years has been a fluent progression of Amelies style and influence. She started her line for Uncommen Matters with a small selection of exhibition pieces that were beautifully minimalistic pieces of porcelian that she hand painted with precious metals. Building on to this line she introduced a stronger presence of feminity and fluidity which work stunningly against the hard and masculine aspects of the materials she works with. Growing from there she explores architectural stuctures who gradually turn into geometric shapes and forms on pieces of jewellery where we eventually see the introduction of colour.
The latest collection called Treble Bounce is for me a coming back to those first stylistic trademarks Amélie used to work with and this time realised in 3D. The almost masculine looking hard wear is beautifully toned down with the use of smooth edges and colours that bring the femininity back in the collection. The chunky pieces of jewellery are wonderfully wearable works of architecture, with her signature infusion of the sense of luxury and timelessness.
Q + A
| Nader | Can you please introduce yourself and what you do?
| Uncommon Matters | My name is Amélie Riech, and I work in an interdisciplinary way in between design, art, fashion and craft. I am the founder and artistic director of the label Uncommon Matters: a line of contemporary jewellery, accessories and objects. We release both seasonal and special gallery collections. We also create special collections as a collaboration with fashion houses and other notables.
| Nader | You come from a multi-disciplinary background and grew up between Paris and Berlin, could you tell us more about how you got started in the creative field?
| Uncommon Matters | I studied architecture and graduated in fashion design. During my childhood, I lived in Paris for four years and this time strongly influenced me, that is why I decided to return after getting my diploma. I worked for a couple of independent designers and then started my career as a stylist for international publications. I love photography, but after a few years in the fast-paced fashion and press business I felt the need to create something personal, timeless and meaningful. I almost experienced a feeling of pressure to create something drawn from my imagination. I wanted to create handcrafted objects instead of stylised images and from there I came up with the idea to combine my passion with a family tradition of making artisanal porcelain. So I created my first collection which consisted out of couture porcelain accessories.
| Nader | How did you come to the decision that you had an interest in making jewellery? Can you tell us how you first got started?
| Uncommon Matters | When I founded Uncommon Matters, I didn’t know exactly where this journey would take me, which is why I sought out a name that could embody a wide variety of projects. After the first porcelain series I received quite a bit of attention from the press as well as from galleries and boutiques, which led to the invitation to collaborate with Paco Rabanne.
I spent two years working for this exciting and iconic fashion house. He is a visionary and has always fascinated me. The chance to go through his archives to see and work with these pieces of art every day was truly moving. It transported me to another time, when fashion could still be fascinating and revolutionary, it was a huge challenge to do justice to his name and its legacy. The experience made an impression on me and inspired me, from there everything developed very organically and I’m very happy with the opportunities my work has brought me.
Jewellery intrigues me, it is an extension and enhancement of the body, the identity and the senses. It is a highly emotional object that has such an intimate relationship with the wearer and the body, and yet, it can communicate with the outside world. For me my work is a playground where I can create and communicate anything possible, from a fashion accessory to a sculptural artwork.
| Nader | Your pieces are luxurious and sophisticated yet they have this mechanical quality to them, can you elaborate more on your creative process when working on a collection?
| Uncommon Matters | First and foremost, I wanted to create something unexpected. My aesthetic is pretty minimal and I have a passion for simplicity. On the other hand the concept and implementation can be rather complex, this usually only appears after the second look, for example through: hidden closures, changeable forms, materials that transform their appearance when the light hits them or pieces that look heavy but weigh almost nothing.
The reciprocity of innovation and craft, In my work the interplay between these two ways of working that makes for something new to arise. I always try to integrate traditional handwork, it’s a great source of inspiration to me and it is something that should be cherished and preserved but I’m also curious and love to experiment with new techniques and materials.
Sir Isaac Newton said: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” which relates to building on ideas or discoveries from the past. There is a strong connection between the past and the future, so I always try to build on what came before when I envision something new.
| Nader | Can you tell us what your latest collection Treble Bounce is about? What is the inspiration behind the collection?
| Uncommon Matters | It plays with volume and surface in a new way, it creates a positive and fun mood for both the wearer and the viewer. It’s about positivity and femininity.
After several seasons working in 2D, with more flat and graphic designs, I wanted to create sculptural and generously curved pieces. The challenge with Trebel Bounce was about realizing pieces that are voluminous but also extremely light in terms of it's weight. This juxtaposition creates a buoyancy that makes people smile.
| Nader | What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
| Uncommon Matters | Follow your vision and follow the flow. By that I mean that, in my experience, you cannot force anything. But if you work hard, follow your passion and take the opportunities life offers you it cannot go wrong. You will be happy with what you are doing, whether it is commercially successful or not. This is truly my personal way of living and working.
I’m happy to be a designer and a maker because I believe that we can actually change the way we live, produce, and consume. We can really create positive change through design. The way cities are constructed and products are designed can be reimagined and I believe that craftsmanship is an alternative philosophy in our standardised and mass-produced world. Embrace all the possibilities!