Angie Wu, founder of AWÜ jewelry brand: “I express myself through my designs like a writer expresses himself through words.” A drop of ink may make a million think; a drop necklace may hatch a bountiful booty kink — keeping up with the latest attention-grabbing hearsay headlines. Please allow me to introduce herself, she’s a woman of travel wealth and accessorizing taste: Wu, in her own words.
Angie Wu frosts her clientele with a Vernian journey around the world; one to stretch well beyond the 80-day limit.
Taipei, Montreal, Buenos Aires and Shanghai aside from all three reigning as sizzling international globetrotter favorite nerve centers can boast one more asset: Jewelry designer Angie Wu. This Canadian artist had taken on Fine Arts and Industrial Design in Montreal and worked in the creative industry for 15 years when in 2014, she founded her contemporary jewelry brand AWÜ. From her atelier sitting inside an octogenarian English villa tucked away in downtown Shanghai where the air of the tree-lined lanes to this day breathes the melancholically nostalgic magic of the city’s former concessional flamboyance, Wu designs and crafts “conceptually driven fine jewelries” – and I quote.
The various AWÜ collections consist of unique jewelry pieces showing off their versatility in design from the urbane limited edition pieces to the unique made-to-measure artisan artworks. Wu throughout her wide-ranging work shares with wearers and audiences alike her personal penchant for striking profiles, elegant design and refreshing material combinations. All together, these pieces present us with a unique ID-tag that soaks up the poetic and exotic Asian, devours the passionate and playful Latin, snuggles up with some French refinery and romance and commands the British stiff upper lip discipline. Wu frosts — some chickflick lingo to boot, alright — her clientele with a Vernian journey around the world; one to stretch well beyond the 80-day limit. A selected few:
Refined silver designs inspired by leaf patterns and shapes form the inspirational source for AWÜ’s Fall Collection. The outstretched structure and fine-spun surface decorations sweeten the kittykat — just think outside the litterbox, people — by adding to this particular collection a sophisticated sensation of elegance. The satin finish on the fine silver tops off the graceful feline-esque Fall design with a little cosmopolitan creme.
Wu has taken the conceptual prominence associated with bamboo and molded it into a timeless blueprint for jewelry design.
The Geometria collection is inspirited by, what’s in a name, geometrical shapes and the repetitive patterns they bear. The constant balance and tension created through these patterns combined with the use of mathematically perfect elements — triangle, square or circle — result in visually intriguing and timeless designs. The application of monochrome enamels further accentuates the patterns, culminating in pieces that are both bold and contemporary.
The Bamboo Collection (Limited Edition) is rooted in the dignified profile of this unique and classic plant and the implications it conveys within Asian culture. Purity, integrity, modesty and elegance are the symbols most often associated with bamboo; not to mention the iconic part it has played in Chinese culture for over 1,000 years. Wu has taken the plant’s conceptual prominence and molded it into a timeless blueprint for jewelry design. Handmade and -assembled inside the AWÜ studio with fine silver, U.S. imported Thompson enamel, quality sterling silver chain and findings ensure the collection’s consistent quality. The limited collection’s conspicuous profile and its compelling patterns befit, and compliment, anyone at any time.
The above a sprinkling of the selected few, Temper presents without further ado: Angie Wu — in her own words, instead of my usual sentence sauntering.
Temper: What does living in Shanghai bring to your brand’s creations?
Wu: “Shanghai is a super contemporary and international city where anything is possible. It’s here where I could set up a studio in my most favorite style of building, an old European style lane house and showcase my work to a vast variety of customers from different backgrounds. My clientele are composed of 60 percent local mainlanders and 40 percent expats from around the world.”
The goal of my work is to achieve the ideal combination of form, material and technique in each piece while interpreting the strong concept attached to it.
Temper: Do you favor certain (sustainable) materials — as far as that is possible in jewelry design?
Wu: “I love all raw materials in their purest form. They are a promise to infinite possibilities and they are so beautiful. In jewelry design, one can use recycled silver and gold, both from a social and an environmental standpoint. Gold and silver mines often harbor terrible working conditions, particularly in third- world countries, as well as causing erosion, waste and landscape destruction. Un-mined silver and gold are reclaimed from old jewelry, computer parts and electrical contacts and subsequently recycled into new jewelry.”
Temper: Style — and I quote: “Some respond to my memories; some are shapes that I am irresistibly attracted to and some are unknown fields I am curious to explore and experiment”. Could you elaborate a little on these? What is your preferred personal accessorizing style?
Wu: “The jewelry I design is elegant, simple, sculptural, timeless, unique and very wearable. I select high quality materials that have long lasting value, so that my jewelry is timeless both in design and durability. My work goes beyond the cultural differences with an esthetic that appeals to women from different backgrounds and nationalities.
My collections wed the classical with the experimental. Beautiful design, quality workmanship and durability lie at the heart of my pieces. By working geometrical profiles into the desired shapes, I create thematic metaphors. Patterns and elegantly curved lines also rank among my favorite motifs.
My work does not begin life as a drawing, but is usually the result of an experimental development process. Quite often, it all starts with me playing with a particular concept or technique, eager to discover their boundaries. The goal of my work is to achieve the ideal combination of form, material and technique in each piece while interpreting the strong concept attached to it.”
Temper: How does the Chinese customer respond to your jewelry “concoctions”?
Wu: “I have always been fascinated by the art and craftsmanship in ancient China. They are so exotic to me. I love traditional Chinese characters, the stamps, the ink painting and calligraphy, the ceramics and the Ming dynasty furniture style that’s minimal and super elegant. I love the art of the minorities in South China such as the silverware and clothing of the Miao and Tibetan minorities, they are incredibly beautiful!”
Temper: What’s your opinion of the China Fashionista and “Jane Wang” – no disregard intended — walking down the Bund anno 2016?
Wu: “I see an increasing interest in independent designer work and a desire to be unique and special instead of following the trend set by super brands as it used to be. Chinese fashionistas are not afraid to be different and they are becoming ever so expressive with their own view and taste.”
Temper: Where to from here?
Wu: “I never expected my brand to take off so fast and my work, that’s more conceptual and artistic compared to the usual fashion/commercial jewelries, to be welcomed so easily by locals. The future is promising; I believe locals will build a stronger sense of self-expression and taste.”
Accessorizing taste, at that. William Earnest Henley once wrote a little poem called “Invictus”, often recited by Mandela whilst stuck on Robben Island, taken to heart by Winfrey whilst exiting a rather rebellious pubescent spell, committed to memory by yours truly whilst going through a pseudo-intellectual phase and believed by Wu whilst exploring the realm of contemporary and conceptual jewelry design in new fashionable settings, i.e. Mainland China. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”. If nothing else, Wu has proven she is just that: A Master of Refined Arts and the captain of her very own sleek, sublime ‘n fine AWÜ design. It’s fate.
Contact AWÜ: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more AWÜ, visit www.awustudio.com