Jenny Wu heads to Miami to participate in Aqua Art Miami and sell her architectural jewelry line.
Last time DnA interviewed Jenny Wu, she was working on installing a large, complex mesh structure made of tubular steel and knitted rope for a graduation at SCI-Arc, where she and partner Dwayne Oyler also teach. Now she is applying the same fascination for intricate, line-based geometry at a smaller scale, to a line of jewelry, named LACE, that she is launching this week at a pop-up exhibition and shop at Aqua Art Miami.
Her collection features over 25 different styles and pieces composed of necklaces, earrings and rings, ranging from “experimental” pieces made of nylon and thermoplastic polyurethane and “premium” pieces cast in silver. DnA spoke to Jenny as she assembled her pop-up display just before the madness in Miami kicked off. Read on for what buildings and 3D-printed jewelry have in common.
DnA: You are an architect, how come you’ve turned to jewelry?
Jenny Wu: I’ve always been interested in jewelry, and because I like wearing more simple attire, and I haven’t seen any jewelry I liked in the market, I thought why not design it myself. I am familiar with 3D printing, because I started using the tools at architecture school — and so I decided to prototype pieces by 3D printing my designs. I was making pieces for myself to wear, and last year at Miami I brought a couple of my necklaces and I got stopped so often. People were trying to buy them off my neck! And I thought maybe I have something here so I spent this last year working on creating end-products for my line.
DnA: And now you are back at Miami.
JW: So Miami is where I am going to debut my line. I am in Aqua Art Miami, and we are in the main public space, a courtyard in the middle of the hotel. This is part of the Art Miami family of fairs. They clear out every room in a hotel for different galleries to occupy rooms in the hotel and I’m the only pop-up in the courtyard.
JW: The design consists of very intricate, interlocking and interwoven line work, and is very much an extension of my architecture. I see it as 3D lace.
DnA: What is the difference between the prototype and the end product?
JW: Most people use 3D printing for prototyping, and the material is typically not end product quality material. So I developed a premium line and an experimental line. The premium line is made of metal so it involves making a 3D printed wax model, and then it is cast in silver with really great surface — so it doesn’t need a lot of tooling afterwards. The experimental line uses the more typical 3D printing material, nylon.
DnA: What do find most different about this project from building?
JW: I actually think the similarity is what is interesting. I see the body as the site and the 3d printed jewelry as the architecture on the body. I think there are more similarities than differences. As architects we care about materials, durability, details and construction. It’s the same for jewelry, though, of course we have to consider wearability.
JW: Excited, nervous, stressed. I’m excited, because this was all a year in the making and seeing it all come together was really exciting for me. It was also exciting to see my work on other people.
This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity. For more on Jenny’s collection, whose prices range from $40-$1,000, check out her web site.
And listen to this week’s DnA to hear about why Art Basel Miami Beach and the fairs that surround it matter — for good and bad; with gallerists Michael Kohn, Tim Blum and Mieke Marple, and critics Carolina Miranda and Shana Nys Dambrot.