Kei Shigenaga decided to become a jewelry maker because he saw it as an intersection of fashion and sculpture, two things he’s been interested in for a long time. “I feel that jewelry is not simply something fashionable, but it can be an art object you can have with you every day,” says the Japanese silversmith, who makes everything by hand in his Tokyo studio. He often goes back to traditional Japanese culture for inspiration, trying to make it modern in his own way. Lately he’s been interested in “kintsugi,” a traditional form of art where broken ceramics are mended back together using lacquer covered with gold dust, only Shigenaga uses melted gold instead. In a way, the combination of destruction and creation is the crux of his work.” In my work I try to concentrate on the roughness of precious metals,” says he. He is interested in tension between the image of fine jewelry as something delicate, yet tough.
Shigenaga learned silversmithing while he was living in New York. There he met the photographer and model Wataru Shimosato. Aligned in their cultural affinities the pair struck up a friendship, and Shimosato became the brand’s creative director. At some point Shigenaga, drawn back by his roots, decided to move back to Japan and start making jewelry in Tokyo. Check out his work below.