Designer interview

Golnar Gorgin

Golnar Gorgin was studying industrial design when an experiment changed the course of her career. She tried her hand at jewelry making, which led to an exhibition and eventually, a move to Florence. While studying with master craftsmen, Golnar discovered a way to use her talents to honor her Persian heritage. Her father is a master calligrapher who writes exquisite Persian script with ease, but Golnar had trouble following in his footsteps. When she couldn’t execute those elegant designs on paper, she decided to carve them into her jewels. From beautiful and significant letters to powerful messages, every Golnar Gorgin piece carries a deep sense of history and culture.

Hello Golnar – can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

I was born in Iran’s great cultural, political and economical metropolis, Tehran. At home, we paid a great deal of attention to painting, calligraphy and music. My father, who is an architect, is very passionate about art and music. As a child I developed an interest in painting and sculpture and later chose to study industrial design at university. What makes my works unique is probably the influence of two cultures simultaneously: my Persian origin and inheritance on one side and the Italian excellence in handicrafts and accurate techniques on the other.

When did you know you wanted to become a jewelry designer?

Towards the end of my studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University, a couple of classmates and I gave jewelry design a try. We made some pieces and later, I put some of them in an exhibition. I chose nature-inspired jewelry design as the subject of my thesis and this put an end to my studies in Iran. In hopes of gaining mastery in design, I left Tehran for Florence and here I started studying it professionally.

Can you please tell us about your design process?

The design process basically begins with theme selection. After studying the selected theme sufficiently, I prepare a moodboard that includes available designs based on my theme or similar themes and other relevant images. The next step is coming up with ideas, usually beginning with some notes that end in sketches. Finally, I start looking for the right material for the design I like the most. Sometimes before making the prototypes, I use a computer to create the designs in 3D. This happens when the designs are very complicated. At this level, choosing the right production technique is critical. The mentioned steps may sometimes be followed in a different order.

I use different materials such as silver, aluminum, brass, wood, leather and enamel. The choice of material is based on the design and its required features.

What sort of creative challenges do you face?

My favorite stage of designing is when I am supposed to come up with ideas and pick the most interesting and exceptional one. Many times my ideas cannot convince me! Giving up work, going out for a walk, reading the paper or having a coffee with friends are the best things I can do at those times.

Why do you incorporate Persian calligraphy into your work?

In Iran, calligraphy is considered an art. Once you are interested in this art and lack the required skills you would resort to other possible ways to practice it. To add to the artistic value of a work of calligraphy, the calligrapher tends to choose texts that are of high literary value. For me the point in using calligraphy in my designs rests in the belief that significant words, written in a beautiful way, can substitute expensive material in a piece of jewelry and thus elevate it. I usually search for a line of poetry or a quotation in which I can trace formalistic details to help me advance my ideas in jewelry design.

When you were setting up your brand, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

The basic challenge to setting up a brand is providing a complete and varied collection of works that clearly represent my stylistic features and the philosophy behind the brand.

Who is the Golnar Gorgin customer?

I guess my customers are inquiring about and fond of cultures around the world. Those who would go for a different look and create their own styles with extreme care.

Please tell us about your favorite Golnar Gorgin piece.

My favorite piece is the Wisdom necklace, which I believe is my most successful work in terms of form, concept and production technique.

Do you have any advice for other independent designers?

Be inquisitive and try to have an eye for the world’s political and socioeconomic issues.

You are based in Florence – where do you like to spend your free time?

My favorite activities are walking along the Arno River and watching a beautiful sunset in Michelangelo Square, in my second hometown, Florence.

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