Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NoLa Bel: Taking your hands on a trip

Last week we noticed a striking sculptural ring on the hand of our friend Briar. It turns out the ring was in fact five rings sitting together and was designed by fledgling Auckland label NoLa Bel. Briar passed on the lookbook and the fabulous skull packaging for the range entitled "I saw this while I was away." The label describes the rings as "architectural postcards for the hands of the adventurous and brave! We simply had to know more and tracked down Karamia Müller and Nicole Allan, the creative design team behind NoLa Bel:

We like the way the rings are named after cities or places like Alexandra, Vancouver, Jordan, Agadir. Have you been to these places? Nicole has been to Vancouver and I (Karamia) have been to Agadir - we are both keen to go to Alexandra and Jordan...Have you actually shaped the rings off the skylines of these places? We designed the rings and then named them after places that reminded us of them...

Briar mentioned you have a background in architecture. Did you use any architectural techniques in the making of the rings? Yes! Nicole and I are both doing our Masters at the School of Architecture, so instinctively we use architectural techniques. In designing them we use the architectural conventions of elevation/section/plan/axonometric, so we are constantly working between 2D thinking/drawing and 3D - the actual object. We usually draw the design in drafting software as that is what we are both trained in and because it is compatible with laser cutting machine. Once we cut the design, we examine it critically as a three dimensional object - this iterative process draws parallels with model making which is intrinsic to an architectural practice.

Similarly with the packaging, it is an intricate piece of paper sculpting. How did you go about creating the skull box?A LOT of coffee, prototyping, double sided tape, fluoro card & trial and error. There are 8 pieces to each skull, these are cut on a laser machine and then we hand assemble. We have a high regard craftwomanship. Do you make other pieces i.e necklaces, pendants, earrings?We would like to, watch this space! Tell us about the name, Nola Bel... It is just a play on the two words no label, sort of a little poke at branding and it's importance in the consumption of fashion. Where can we currently purchase Nola Bel from? This is easy - Children of Vision (we love James!) and Black Box.