Mauboussin Young Talent Winner - Gabriele Iacono, Class of '16

les nymphs

Organized by Leila Neubauer, Mauboussin launched their first jewelry design contest, Mauboussin Young Talent, with PCA.

We interviewed the winner of the Mauboussin Young Talent jewelry design competition: Gabriele Iacono, Communication Design class of ’16 and President of the PCA Student Council.

As the winner of the Mauboussin Young Talent contest, Gabriele received a prize of 10,000 € and Mauboussin will produce and sell his design in their stores.

The Jury consisted of Laurence Ferrari, Virginie Guilhaume, Barbara Bui, Laura Flessel and Caroline Vreeland. The President of Mauboussin, Alain Némarq, was also in attendance at the jury and awards ceremony.

Congratulations on winning the Mauboussin challenge! For those who aren’t too familiar with the project, tell us a little bit about the brief and your inspiration.

We had to design a piece of jewelry for the modern woman between 25-50 years old. We were free to interpret what the modern woman meant whilst taking into consideration Mauboussin’s vision of a modern woman: a strong woman who is able to buy the jewelry herself, and not as a present from a man.

My inspiration for the project started by defining the modern woman. Women are no longer fragile precious diamonds that need to be exhibited and displayed for everyone to see. Instead, their beauty is more discreet and hidden within their strength and fierceness.

I’ve applied my view of the modern woman in the design through the materials. I noticed that in contemporary jewelry the jewel is always very prominent, as opposed to the whole piece. The precious stone is put on display, while the metal or band is used merely as a holder of the stone. I wanted the rawness of this material and the preciousness of the stone to be in harmony and to coexist as a single balanced hybrid of beauty and power.

Also, I presented something that can be easily interchangeable within different objects. I started with a ring, it was one of the most obvious ways to incorporate the jewel into an object, but it also can be applied to pendants, necklaces or bracelets.

Coming from a Communication Design background, what motivated you to participate in this competition?

Well, I’ve always been interested in doing new things. That’s also why I chose Communication Design as a major; you learn to be somewhat flexible as a designer. I have also been working a lot in fashion in the past years, mostly as a photographer, so this was an opportunity to try something else in the same field. I believe that — at least nowadays, it’s not sufficient to do just one thing in order to succeed as a designer, so I try to not limit myself by choosing one discipline.

Did you find any overlaps between Accessory Design and Communication Design?

Yea, I think there are overlaps between the two. In my view it was mainly to do with having a target audience for a product. I started working on the brief in a very concept driven manner, but also took into account the marketable aspect of the product as it would actually be produced and sold by Mauboussin.

What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was to take my own aesthetics and interests and adapt them to a product that is meant for an audience. Also, from a technical point of view, it was quite a challenge accomplishing my goal of mixing the different types of materials in the ways I imagined. But through experimentation and refining my method I managed to accomplish it.

Since winning the competition, have you started collaborating with Mauboussin?

Well, right after winning the contest the winter break started, so we have arranged to start our collaboration after the beginning of the New Year. We’re currently in the planning process for the second part of the prize, the production.

What would you like to do after your studies?

I really don’t have a precise idea of what I’d like to be doing right after, but I know that eventually I would love to have an art director position in a domain I’ll enjoy.

How do you think this project could help you with your future endeavors?

It definitely was a career changing experience. It was a great opportunity to participate in it and actually having won it is truly amazing — for which I’m thankful to everyone who was involved in the organization of the project. I wasn’t really considering jewelry making as my future career as my training is quite different, but this experience has really changed that.

Lastly, if you had to pick only three books to bring to a deserted island, what would they be?

I wouldn’t really know. Three literature books wouldn’t occupy you that much time, would they? And I mostly collect art books about design and photography, so it would probably be something with really pretty pictures.