Inspirationist Exclusive: Interview and Studio Tour with jewelry designer Ioana Enache

We are proud to introduce you to one of the most talented and original emerging young jewelry designers in Romania: Ioana Enache graduated from the University of Architecture and tried her hand at oil painting while her steps were heading towards jewelry design without notice. She started by realizing statement necklaces in daring combinations, not only by the association of their shapes and materials, but also by the size of the elements, semi-precious stones combinations and cultured pearls. Not long after, she began studying at the ‘Assamblage Contemporary Jewelry School’ under David Sandu’s guidance, where she learned hot-working silver and gold, how combining these with precious and semi-precious stones can turn a jewel into a work of art. That was the moment when she hopelessly fell in love with jewelry design.

INSPIRATIONIST: You have recently moved into your new workspace. Tell us how does it feel to have your own studio. Did you take this step because Ioana Enache Jewelry is growing or you simply felt the need for a change?

IOANA ENACHE: Moving into my own workspace came as a result of the fact that I wanted very much to extend my work zone, to progress with what I do and to deepen my knowledge. I was craving a generous space, as bright as possible, even an attic, and that is how it happened. I believe that when you want something deeply and you persevere in accomplishing that goal, you will succeed.

I: What’s a regular day like in the life of designer Ioana Enache?

I.E.: I try to wake up as early as I can, provided I didn’t spend the night before working late; it’s something I often do, during nighttime everything is more quiet, it’s like I can daydream more easily about the pieces I want to work on or those I am already in the process of creating. After a quick breakfast, I take my cup of latte and go up to my studio in the attic. The first thing I do is check the schedule for the day, what pieces need online promoting and document myself on what’s new in the design and designer jewelry scene. Then it’s when I start working per se, while the hours pass without my notice. There are, of course, days when I have to purchase certain materials. I love to choose from a multitude of strings or stones for mounting. I know from the first touch exactly what I want to do with them, in what pieces they’ll fit. I can wholeheartedly say that I never get bored. I’m always working on something new, there are always new stones, new colors, new materials, new techniques. It is truly wonderful!

I: You have graduated from the University of Architecture. What made you shift towards jewelry design and what role does the architectural knowledge you’ve accumulated play in the process of creating your pieces?

 I.E.: I had no idea I was going to do jewelry design, things came more or less naturally. I was in a period when I couldn’t find my place and I was looking for that something. I knew I wanted it to be something creative and the product had to come out of my hands. I knew this was what I wanted to do when I found myself in a shop with a multitude of stones, looking to make myself a necklace and bracelet, and while I was searching for the right stones and accessories, I realized that “This is it! This is what I want to do!” and so it was. I am not going to deny the fact that graduating from architecture school hasn’t left a mark. I see the proportions in a certain way, the color associations, etc., but I believe that it is not enough. In jewelry design, in art in general, you have to feel as well, the piece, the material, the person you are creating for a jewel to find himself in, most of the time, a unique piece. Although it seems so, it is not at all easy. Like a guild friend once told me, every person who comes looking for a piece, represents a new challenge, and we have to be up to it.

I: How does a Ioana Enache Jewelry collection come to life? What inspires the concept of the pieces and the choosing of materials?

I.E.: Generally, a collection comes to life starting from a piece that I subsequently develop using different stones, different shapes, but keeping it all under the same note. Besides collections, I like to do singular pieces as well, most of the time unique, either necklaces or silver pieces. I am inspired by everything, from a word whispered in a certain way to something I see on the streets, absolutely anything, it all just depends on my mood.

I: Describe the woman who wears Ioana Enache Jewelry. Who are your jewelries meant for or who would you like to wear them?

I.E.: I want to believe that my pieces address people who want to escape the routine and want to wear this kind of jewel, a designer creation. I like to create for different types, to access multiple jewelry styles, because I have this desire of always creating something new, trying new materials and methods, reinventing myself with every newly designed piece. I also address the gentlemen who didn’t forget how important a jewel is, and what I mean by that, are the cufflinks. The first piece I ever created after graduating ‘The Contemporary Jewelry School’, under David Sandu’s guidance, was a pair of black onyx cufflinks. Their success pushed me to go forward and promote this type of jewelry amongst gentlemen, because it expresses elegance regardless of time and passing trends.

I: How known is the designer jewelry in Romania and what does it promise?

I.E.: Many people don’t know just yet how to distinguish between mass made jewelry and the designer one. What my colleagues and I do, is based on a concept, starts from an idea, it is first being studied and then realized. It is handmade, starting from melting the material, laminating, stone mounting, until the final shape, and it is, most of the time, a unique piece. I can say that designer jewelry is an applied art; it is not quantifiable by the gram, its value is as a whole [Could you estimate the value of a painting judging by the number of canvas meters used or the quantity of paint?  I don’t believe so. About the same principle applies here, too.] A designer piece has a certain ‘load’, there is a amount of energy invested in it while it’s being created and it shows. It is wonderful to see, when we all gather at jewelry fairs, the multitude of pieces and styles. Thanks to these exhibitions, designer jewelry is starting to take proportions in Romania as well. We want to show that wearing a designer piece, handmade by a Romanian designer, and most times, personalized, it is way more ‘cool’ that any other foreign brand.

I: You’ve realized a capsule collection together with Ana Morodan. What future projects you have for your brand? Are you planning any more collaborations?

I.E.: Yes, indeed, it has been a very interesting experience working with Ana Morodan, and the pieces we created together were very successful. Another collaboration I was extremely pleased to honor was Parametrica [digi fab school]’s proposal to realize a pair of designer cufflinks for Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, during the “Dynamic Fields” conference he lectured at in Bucharest. I also receive collaboration proposals from different online or offline stores, or from the design scene professionals, but due to the amount of time I spend working on orders or personal collections I am not always able to honor them all. I spend a lot of time as well preparing my collections for the two annual editions of ‘Autor Contemporary Jewelry Fair’ in which I happily take part every time. For the future, I’d like to create more and more elaborate pieces, starting from the mantra: ‘quality over quantity’.














Find Ioana’s creations on Ioana and follow on Facebook, here

Photography is by Magda Gheorghe for Inspirationist

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