A child of the 90’s, talented Italian jewelry designer, Bea Bongiasca, hails from Milan and draws inspiration from her deep love for pop culture, contemporary art, and design, infusing her pieces with a kaleidoscope of colors. Her jewelry represents a spirited departure from tradition without compromising on quality, making it accessible to individuals of her generation.
Her distinctive style often intertwines classic gold with exuberant enamel colors, defying the norms of fine jewelry. This unexpected evolution grants her pieces kinetic movement and a bold aesthetic. For Bea, jewelry is an art form, and she pours her artistic vision into each intricate and playful piece. Through her designs, wearers can momentarily escape reality and immerse themselves in a miniature fantasy world.
Having graduated with honors in Jewelry Design BA from Central Saint Martins in London, a milestone that marked the birth of her eponymous brand and studio in Milan, Bea’s debut collection, 'No Rice, No Life,' made its captivating debut at 10 Corso Como during Milan Fashion Week in September 2014 before she went on to exhibit her collections at prestigious showcases such as a solo exhibition at Galleria Antonella Villanova in the Design section of Art Basel: Miami Beach in December 2014.
Acknowledging her remarkable achievements, Forbes listed Bea in their esteemed "30 Under 30 Europe Class of 2017" under the Arts & Dorm Room Founders categories. In 2019, she opened her flagship store in Milan's Via Solferino, designed by Locatelli Partners to embody the brand's core attributes of color, pop culture, and kawaii aesthetics. The Italian designer’s innovative designs have since garnered a devoted celebrity following, with admirers such as Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Bella Hadid, Zara Larsson, Leandra Medine, Eva Chen, Julia Roberts, and Tessa Thompson and AboutHer.com managed to catch up with Bongiasca to delve deeper into her world of jewelry design, her inspirations and her captivating latest collection, ‘Save The Colors’…
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the Save the Colors collection and how it differs from your previous collections?
The collection “Save the Colors” stems from a reflection on the state of color in the contemporary world. Architecture, fashion and interior design have celebrated the sobriety of neutral hues in recent years, limiting the use of color and its expressive potential.
I elected color as the manifesto of my style and this collection confirms my brand's imagery more than ever: an invitation to be daring and express yourself through color, a contagious palette that will conquer even the most discrete tastes, thanks to the minimalism of the new creations. The precious stones iconic to previous collections slowly faint leaving more space in” Save the Colors” for gold and colored enamels, whose brilliant tones embrace the shine of the metal.
Your jewelry designs often incorporate bright enamel colors that are not commonly seen in fine jewelry. What inspired you to combine these two elements?
Traditionally in jewelry only gemstones would give color to the piece. I wanted to add a lot more of it so I have always been using enamel because you can turn it into any color you like. The enamel is hand painted very carefully on each piece, it needs to be done perfectly, as any mistake would cause for it to be repainted all over again. Being a colorful person is what inspired me to follow this process.
Can you walk us through your design process when creating a new collection? What steps do you take to ensure each piece is unique and reflective of your artistic vision?
I usually have ideas that have been brewing and forming in my head for some time. Then slowly I realize more concretely what they are and start drawing them but usually it takes a few tries to express what it really is meant to be (if that makes sense). Then from there we take it from 2D to 3D and that is when it also becomes a technical matter as often I try to make things that are not necessarily traditional. The joy of seeing the new piece you were working on become real with forever be the biggest satisfaction in my work!
The new collection features composable rings, playful earrings, and personalized charms. What is the significance of these pieces and how they contribute to the overall theme of the collection?
Each piece is important to create the overall look and completeness of a collection. The stacking rings were very important to me because it was the first time that I designed a ring with the specific intent so I was curious to see how it was going to be received. I personally like the idea of wearing many rings on the same finger and playing with the color combinations to make them work.
You have said that jewelry is an art form to you. How do you approach incorporating artistic elements into your designs?
It is not so much incorporating artistic elements, it’s more that jewelry design is the medium in which I express my creativity. The concepts behind the art and design that I want to create is then channeled into jewels.
Your flagship store in Milan reflects the brand's colorful and playful aesthetic. How important is it to you to have a physical retail space that embodies the brand's values?
It is very important to me! Your store is the narration and personification of your brand. The boutique, designed by Locatelli Partners, reflects the features dear to me and the brand: pop, “kawaii” and the pink color that decorates the entire space. It embodies my vision of jewelry: a form of art and a miniature fantasy universe where everyone can dive. I would love for my clients to feel a sense of joy when visiting my physical store as that is what I hope my jewelry promotes.
You have worked with natural diamonds ethically and sustainably sourced from Botswana. What can you tell us about the importance of ethical sourcing in the jewelry industry and how it influences your design process?
I think it is important that the jewelry industry become more focused on the traceability of materials but I also realize that it is not something that will happen overnight. However I do see a light at the end of the tunnel as these big companies are starting to move in this direction.
Your jewelry has been worn by numerous celebrities. How does it feel to see your pieces on high-profile individuals, and do you think this exposure has impacted your brand's growth?
Of course, I am so grateful to have celebrities wear my designs as that has helped my brand awareness greatly.
But my greatest aspiration is to see someone wearing my jewelry on the street or queueing at the airport or at the seaside in another country, somewhere random because that would be so much more surreal to see them ‘out in the wild’ and it makes me really happy!
The new collection features rock crystal beads, which you custom cut into beads over a period of two years. What is the significance of these beads and why they were important to include in the collection?
It was something that I really wanted to try but I needed to make sure that I was offering a new product as opposed to using parts of something premade. The latter is why it took so long to make these pieces, when you create beads from scratch it is a much longer production process. I love the way that these rock crystals catch the light and shine so I think it was worth it.
Finally, what message do you hope to convey through the Save the Colors collection and where can we get our hands on it in the Middle East?
“Save the Colours” manifests my style. The collection origins from my reflection on the state of color in the contemporary world: architecture, fashion and interior design have celebrated the sobriety of neutral nuances in recent years, limiting the use of color and its expressive potential.
Bea Bongiasca is available at THAT Concept Store in Dubai, Galeries Lafayette in Doha, Aubade in Kuwait, Macle in Beirut and Runway in Amman. The pieces are also available online at beabongiasca.com