Sometimes we stumble across designers so innovative, it makes us rethink a medium of art. Bijou Mobil does just this. Taking jewelry and reforming it into body sculpture, designer Ambre Cardinal creates to compliment the body’s natural form. With a dynamic career as both an art director and jewelry designer, her work is more than accessories – it is a vision that lives within its own creative ecosystem. We sit down with Ambre to discuss her work, vision, and process.
LF: You’ve mentioned that some time spent in Japan inspired Mobil. Can you tell us a bit more about your experiences that led to the creation of the line?
AC: My immersion into the Japanese culture has had a huge impact on my creativity, especially when I discovered the mono no aware, an aesthetic and spiritual old Japanese concept which emphasizes ephemeral beauty. This inspired me to create pieces of jewelry that highlight the sensual parts of the body according to Japanese culture, like the wrist.
I also started experimenting with wood, which is a really soft and warm material. I found it pleasing to use it with metal, which is hard and cold. This is how I got the idea to put together the wood photography with my jewelry designs in order to create an interesting artistic display. Japan gave me the opportunity to open myself up to a new awareness.
LF: When it comes to your design approach, what is your creative process?
AC: I am constantly alert in my daily life, looking for inspiration, especially while I am traveling. It can be a beautiful detail in a building or a traditional piece of jewelry that my eyes wander to. However, once I am back in the workshop, I try to start fresh and don’t look at any references.
I work directly with the materials. I like to make a piece evolve and see how it reacts depending on how I hammer it. My jewelry is deeply connected to the body, this is why I work directly in volume. I use my own body as a mold and I shape the gold line around it. Once a piece of jewelry is fluid and fits the body well, I am convinced the piece is finished.
LF: How do you find that your creativity differs between your work as an art director and your work as a jewelry designer?
AC: The creativity is the same for both fields. Generally, I have bubbles of ideas in my minds that keep popping up. I just try to grab the good ones, stick to them and refine the concept to make them mine.
LF: Do you have any muses that you envision when conceptualizing jewelry pieces? If so, who?
AC: I would say the woman of the world – every feminine, feline, delicate, independent, joyful, sparkly woman.
LF: Each of your pieces compliment the body, often playing on shape and silhouette. What inspired you to incorporate the human form into your work?
AC: Since I started designing jewelry in art school, I always related it to the body. How the matter meets the body is a meeting point I find very poetic and sensual. I find the body the most beautiful piece of art, the jewelry just comes along to highlight it.
LF: Are you more analytical or intuitive when it comes to creating?
AC: I am a 100% intuitive person.
LF: Describe your most transformative moment as an artist.
AC: One year after graduating from the Royal College of Art, a friend of mine offered t0 shoot a video showing my jewelry designs – this opportunity to direct my first video transformed my artistic perspective.
It was a new world and learning a new set of skills was invaluable for my artistic growth. Jewelry design is quite a lonely practice, working in a team was a very enriching and powerful moment. This is how I learn new artistic abilities like styling, lighting, framing and editing.
Furthermore, I started to include contemporary dance in my work. Featuring my jewelry on a body in movement perfectly compliment my body sculptures.
LF: How fast do you live?
AC: This is a funny question for me because my pace is actually really fast. I am always on the move between Paris, Tokyo, London, or discovering a new place. Recently, I have been trying to slow down and appreciate some quiet moments.