SIMONE BREWSTER INTERVIEW
Jewelry designer Simone Brewster is known for her unique and futuristic jewelry and home decor. Her creative process results in eye-catching designs that are influenced by her architectural background. Brewster earned a degree in Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture and an MA in Design Products from the Royal College of Art, and has had multiple featured exhibitions including at the British Embassy during the 2012 Olympics, the Royal College of art 175th Anniversary, and the Collect at the Saatchi Gallery. Here is our exclusive interview with Simone Brewster.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PATH TO A CAREER IN DESIGN?
Simone Brewster: My path has definitely not been a straight one. I started out in architecture. I studied architecture in one of London’s most prestigious schools, The Bartlett UCL. I had wanted to be an architect since I was a little girl, since visiting my father’s family in the Caribbean for the first time and seeing the positive impact that well-designed spaces had on everyday life.
My time in architecture was great for teaching me the fundamental principles of design and how to think creatively. But most of the time I was in the workshop making things, experimenting with materials and learning through doing. This encouraged me to do a Masters at the Royal College of Art, also in London, in product design. It was those two years that transformed me into the creator I am today. After graduation, I started making furniture, sculptures, and jewelry.
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Simone Brewster: My creative process calls upon many creative processes, but the cornerstone to everything is a foundation of research into traditional ceremonial costumes from across the globe. I have a huge Pinterest board where I store all the unusual and beautiful ways in which cultures have developed, adornment and traditional costume. I also invest in a huge personal library, buying beautiful secondhand books on adornment and culture.
Beyond this, I do what I think of as the obvious steps, I sketch, I draw, I play, making small mockups and also digitally on my computer. I don’t really think there is one avenue to walk down if you want to be continuously creative and harvest different results.
FAVORITE DESIGN ERA?
Simone Brewster: I don’t have one favorite design era, I’m more inclined to be drawn to the voice of the creative. There are stylistic things that I enjoy, like the ‘20s deco lines and mix of metal with marble, or the elegant use of plywood in the ‘50s; but what really appeals to me are the voices from within those eras.
Not all the jewelry I make would be considered commercial. The majority of my work I believe to be art jewelry. Many are statement pieces that take on a big scale or use unusual material combinations. When I was interested in making a commercial collection, I wanted to use materials that spoke of the values that I believe to be important. I wanted the pieces to speak of durability and quality as well as be the bold, beautiful, dramatic language that is specific to my style. I choose to use gold and silver as a way of translating those values into the work. I feel it makes the pieces timeless and classic and easy to wear daily.
INTRIGUING TRENDS? FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION?
Simone Brewster: I’m not into trends, I’m into individual voices that add to the quality of the design chorus. One thing that I am happy to see the rise of throughout the creative industries are the new voices of color that are adding their tone, their perspectives, and values to the table.
In the UK, there is a new wave of great Black British creatives who are entering the field. Established voices like Yemi Awosile and Ndidi Ekubia are being joined by new creatives like Mac Collins and Jahday Ford; it’s very inspiring. For 54kibo, I wanted to be part of this movement I see within our community. To empower each other through supporting the quality of our work and the creativity of our vision. I don’t see enough of this so being part of this feels like joining a global family.