JEWELLERY DESIGNER LIA GONCALVES

At DEFUZE, we are always on the hunt for emerging talent with unique concepts and different ideas. Portuegese designer Lia Goncalves’ jewellery design caught our attention. There is a simplicity and a rawness in her designs that we loved. We caught up with her and had the pleasure to ask her some questions about her and her brand.

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Your Jewellery has got a very distinct raw and organic look to it. What made you go for this specific approach? Why choose contemporary over classical?

I like simple shapes but at the same time very texturized. It is not only a conceptual choice, but also the result of my creative and technical approach. I’m constantly experimenting, creating textures which are always different and unrepeatable. The experimental process allows me to make each jewel quite unique. I’ve broken with the classic lines because they would block me creatively, forcing me to work in a very concrete direction and repetitively.

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How was your upbringing and did it inspire you in a certain way to do what you do now?

I’ve been always very passionate about arts and crafts.  My love for handmade and also the relation between my work and the outside inspires my technical approach.

Which designers inspired you in your journey of finding your style and are there any who you still look up to?

I admire many jewellers. During the past few years I’ve followed with great interest two Portuguese designers: Bruno da Rocha and Liliana Guerreiro, for instance. But also the Brazilian Antonio Bernardo, as well Ted Noten and Onno Boekhoudt, who do more conceptual work. These are still my favourites.

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How has the Portuguese fashion scene evolved over last few years, in your opinion? Do you feel that it has to potential to become one of the new emerging hubs for young fashion professionals both home grown and international talent?

In the last few years there has been a significant increase in new Portuguese fashion and jewellery designers, each creating bold projects. The Portuguese jewellery industry in particular is helping young designers by promoting their work and increasing their visibility not only in Portugal but also internationally.  I believe Lia Gonçalves will be among the ones to watch.

How does the creative process work for you when you are working on the ideas for a new collection?

After choosing the theme, which could be an idea, an impression, or even something that comes from my daily life, I explore the design developing all the prototypes at the same time. It is important to me to understand first the interaction with the materials and all the finishing options. After I decide the design and technical details, I’m able to do the final piece.

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Do you still make all pieces yourself? In future do you plan to keep production in Portugal or go abroad to keep the costs low?

Currently I make all pieces myself. In the future, I would like to hire people and train them in my studio to be able to produce more collections for year, and larger collections, without losing my identity. I will also keep production in Portugal for sure, this is very important to me. It is also important to keep some exclusivity, I don’t want to produce on a massive scale.

You specifically work with Silver. Any particular reason for this choice?

I really like silver because it allows me to explore so many different colours and different effects. It is really exciting.

Starting your own brand for a young designer can be a bold step. How hard was the decision and the process to establish your brand?

It’s always hard to begin something which is new, the most important thing is to believe. I started gradually to build my brand. It was very important to understand why my product was different and who my customer is. I’ve enjoyed every step and each small achievement.

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What advice would you give to new comers in the field who students who will like to follow your footsteps?

The most important is to think about what they want to do, planning every small step. And of course, after that they will have to work very hard!

Who is an ideal Lia Goncalves customer? 

My customer is looking for simplicity, but also appreciates the concept and the story behind the jewel. It has to be versatile but at the same time unique and emotional.

If you had to choose one piece out of your creations, which one would that be and why?

The oxidized necklace from my Moon collection. It’s bold but at the same time very delicate. The oxidization also gives the piece a modern twist.

What are your future plans and where will you like to see Lia Goncalves brand in few years time?

The goal is to promote the brand around the world, making my signature recognisable. At the same time I would love to turn my studio into an incubator for young designers who want to launch their own brands.

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