Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on January 25, 2008
Who would have imagined that hair pins, toothpicks, phone cards or even PET bottles could become the focal point for that most sought after of female adornments – jewelry? Certainly not me. Luckily for the rest of the world, Brazilian born designer, poet and visual artist Mana Bernardes did… and she executes her vision with aplomb. Her imaginative designs have received international acclaim and have been featured in cutting edge design magazines like Dwell, ID and Wallpaper.
Bernardes’ brilliance lies in her ability to transform everyday objects — some of them with a negative value (i.e. trash) — into objects of value, not to mention exceptional beauty. The “Intimate Immensity” necklace made from Acetate is reminiscent of modern day Ivory Coast coral necklace, minus the need to harvest a precious natural resource. The “Clasp” necklace could pass for something Cleopatra once owned, were it not made from black and light gold hairpins. Finally, the exquisite “Manda La Ca Pet” necklace may look like a Hawaiian lei, but required no water, sunlight or land to cultivate.
The Mana collection operates under the auspices of “Touch”, a collaboration of emerging designers who create handmade products that are both aesthetic and ethical. Seeing “luxury in seemingly unusable materials”, Mana works with teenagers and students in Brazil to pass on her unique skill set to the next generation.