Pierre Hardy: The Man Behind Hermès' Exceptional Jewellery
With a background in fine arts and dance, Pierre Hardy, creative director of fine jewellery at Hermès, is a designer you can count on for creating objets d’art.
His latest collection, Enchaînements Libres, is enchanting on all levels, from its playful proportions right down to its technical details and materials—including titanium, a notoriously difficult metal to work with—and is more than meets the eye.
What’s behind the Enchaînements Libres collection?
It is actually a name that comes from dance; it describes the combination of different movements in a certain order. The way the movements are formed allows the dancer to express something in a very fluid, linked-together manner, which is similar to the way I create jewellery.
Every element stands for something but when they all come together it tells a greater story. Chains are one of the most important icons for the house of Hermès. Chains are also the simplest way to make metal flexible and fluid, so it allows the form to mould onto the shape of the body.
Chains are symmetric, but you took a different approach.
I wanted to escape the metrics and the predictable nature of the chain pattern. Chains are traditionally used to suppress new ways, but I wanted to free the routine and to break the rules.
Would you agree the focus of Hermès jewellery is more on the form rather than the stones?
Yes, as that’s also consistent with the atelier and its expertise. We’re not afraid to construct hard-to-make pieces. This is also the first time we’ve introduced titanium to the creation process.
The Fusion necklace is a big piece I had sketched out, and it would have weighed a tonne if it was made in gold, so we looked at alternative metals.
Your jewellery structures are very experimental. When do you know that you’ve finished a design?
I never know, actually. It is always a gamble, and that’s what’s exciting about the process of creation—you start off with an idea, make a drawing and you work on it until the very end. In a way I’m learning about the product while I create it.
Usually, when I see the final product, it’s better than what I had envisioned in my head; all the hours of work, all the stones, and the craftsmanship that has gone into the creation make it look better than what I had in mind.