There’s nothing quite like new collection arrivals and Michael Aram never fails to disappoint. The luxury accessories brand with strong artisanal roots continually delights with its whimsical and thematic collections inspired by nature and its founder’s moving personal experiences.
Discussing three of his newest ranges – Bittersweet, Rainforest and Thatch – the founder pinpoints his moments of inspiration.
The Bittersweet Collection
Inspired by the eponymous North American flower, the Bittersweet collection adds a delicate touch in the form of tendril-like vines and “jewel-like pods”. The graceful stems delicately wrap around the rim of vases, bowls and trays and appear to be sculpted from trinket boxes and photo frames. Set to be a favourite of lovers of all things feminine, the collection is a go-to for pretty wedding gifts or birthday presents for her.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the Bittersweet collection? Were you inspired by a particular moment?
I grew up with bittersweet vines in the woods behind my house and have always loved them for their intricacy and vibrancy. I like to bring them into the house in arrangements that conjure a sense of wild nature. In my collection, I have combined the random swooping vine shapes with molten steel beading and contrasting brass berries. The etching on the steel evokes the wintery frost of the season when the vine is most beautiful.
Q: What is your favourite piece from the Bittersweet collection?
There is such a delicacy to the actual bittersweet vine that I wanted to play with idea of doing a large sculpture of it. The bittersweet “Nature Study” sculpture would have to be my favourite piece. It is graphic, bold and unexpected, yet still captures the delicacy and beauty of the actual botanical.
The Rainforest Collection
The new Rainforest Collection rethinks the idea of bringing nature indoors with unique snake-handled cheeseboards, detailed leaf centrepieces and quirky beetle and mantis adorned trinket boxes. Designed to capture “the fragility of the world’s natural resources and the mysterious beauty of the flora and fauna found in tropical jungles”, the collection combines lush emerald green enamel and marble with vegan horn and natural brass for a rich material palette.
Q: What was the challenge of creating the Rainforest collection with its divergent inspirations?
I always depict collections that I have a connection to. I was deeply moved by a visit to the home of Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil and the beauty and fragility of the rain forest in combination with his modernist aesthetic. I wanted to capture the sense of richness and layering of the rain forest and used various finishes, materials, and techniques to achieve that goal. I like that the green marble looks like an aerial view of the amazon and that the body shapes suggest the contrast of the wild vegetation with the modernity of Burle Marx’s work.
Q: With its deep green tones, intricate detailing and lacquered finishes, the Rainforest collection is incredibly rich. How do you like to style it best?
I like that the Rainforest collection has elements that are wildly unexpected and at the same time, pieces which can easily be incorporated with other things effortlessly and elegantly. For me, it is the surprise of the unanticipated that I love most, since I feel it gives a spark to an interior or a table.
"For me, it is the surprise of the unanticipated that I love most."
The Thatch Collection
A small collection of sculptural objet and bowls, Thatch presents a more abstract take on its inspirations, creating art-like pieces which can be displayed individually, as sets or used for more functional reasons. Its intricate network of twig-like elements creates texture and movement which so characterises the nature it is inspired by. Continuing its mission to bring craft back into décor, “each piece is hand forged and welded, with no two pieces ever the same.”
Q: The Thatch collection seems to have a more sculptural appeal than many of your other collections. Was this your intention?
The Thatch collection was inspired by something very simple: floating blades of grass on the water and how they interact and interlock. I wanted to capture that random patterning and movement with the collection. While the pieces were initially imagined as pure sculpture, I did make some open bowls in Thatch that were among my favourites.
Q: How can the collections be styled together?
I believe that all my pieces share a point of view and therefore can easily be used together. I also feel that my collectors are usually drawn to pieces which touch or inspire them in ways which make their use joyful and meaningful. I know in my own life that I constantly work with things that I love, be it a favorite sculpture or beloved coffee mug. I think my pieces converse well with one another.