Chao-Hsien Kuo and Eero Hintsanen are the talents behind Chao&Eero Jewel. Based in Lahti, Finland, this duo creates bold pieces of modern jewellery that are bound to be conversation openers. In fact, quite a few of their collections are based on communication, such as the brand new RingRing and the previous Think and Talk series, as well as Pyromance (if you consider the messages sent through tattoos). A more natural bent can be found on the flip side of the coin; gentle designs that are not without some punch.
What is it about graffiti that inspired the RingRing collection?
Most graffiti carries lots of hidden meanings, humour and wit, which are also the elements I appreciate in design.
People who make graffiti at a higher level are very much like other professionals in creative industries. The artists need to master their tools in order to execute the pieces as they should be, and it takes much time and practice to develop one’s own style.
The Pyromance series of brooches tips its hat to colourful tattoos; Think & Talk are based on comic book speech and thought bubbles; to whom do these collections hold the most appeal?
City dwellers who have an eye for alternative things and ideas.
Subcultures that require knowledge to understand are difficult subjects to translate well into jewelry. The designs need to be processed and well thought out in order to present the ideas properly and cleverly; otherwise, instead of praising the subjects, you might end up mocking them and making very shallow interpretations.
Who are the customers you had in mind when designing these pieces?
Most of our customers are people who appreciate good designs and quality work. Many are actually in the design related fields. When designing, we think more of how to present the ideas the best, and hope that whoever buys or receives our jewelry will be happy about their choices.
One thing worth of mentioning is that we are proud to say that our jewelry is properly made, and in a very pleasant working environment. Therefore, for some of our European customers who are concerned about the ethical aspects of the products, they are always satisfied to have our works.
Your work is inspired by both nature and contemporary urban living, and the Leaflower collection is a good example of this as it is based on a common Finnish plant that grows on the walls of city buildings. If you had to give up one of these inspirations, which one would it be, nature or urban life?
We would say that these two inspirations go hand in hand; they complement each other. They reflect our life and how we live.
Chao grew up as a city girl, and has studied in Taipei and New York. Therefore, the nature in Finland always surprises her and has been offering endless inspiration for her work. On the contrary, I was brought up in the Finnish countryside, so the urban elements are more exciting and inspiring for me.
We don’t see urban and nature as opposites. We feel that they need each other and coexist. Even in a big city, all you need to do is to take a few minutes to look at your surroundings with a new eye, and you will find nature is right there.
You have just launched the RingRing collection. What is next for Chao & Eero?
After the RingRing collection we will launch the Footprint collection by Chao. The inspiration came from the little birds’ footprints on the snow in our yard. Again, it reflects the nature in an urban environment.
And as for an upcoming event, we will participate at the Design Market during Helsinki Design Week for the third time. This year we have spent much time on the new studio and creating new collections, so we will start again with the fairs abroad next year. We also would like to find challenging and innovative collaborations with other design fields in the near future.