Goldsmith Georg Hornemann is known for his creations for years. We met his son Alexander Hornemann and his wife Claudia for an interview
Georg Hornemann has been in business as a goldsmith for more than 50 years and – with his very special creations – is an exceptional talent in the field. Claudia and Alexander Hornemann are the second generation and are leading the family business into a new era. Their space on Schlüterstraße will open for a presentation with Stephanie Hahn and 22/4 HOMMES FEMMES on the 8th of July during Berlin Fashion Week. 22/4 HOMMES FEMMES is also a participant in the Berliner Mode Salon, which officially opens its doors the day before. We asked them a few questions:
You recently moved to Berlin from the Rheinland. What were the arguments behind such a big step?
Alexander: Berlin asks the right questions in regards to the future, what’s relevant and what’s not. It’s the fastest growing city in Germany and the city that’s always reinventing itself.
Claudia: For an established Düsseldorf business, the move to Berlin was really big – but really manageable for us personally thanks to a lot of great friends that we already had here.
Berlin is the ideal platform for our new presentation concept. We present ourselves as a mix of a gallery, showroom, studio, and salon, and all from the art nouveau “bel étage” of the former Hotel Bogota near Kurfürstendamm. A space in such a historically meaningful property and, at the same time in such a central location, in internationally unique.
For you, which aspects play a central role in carrying on a family business?
Alexander: With two locations, open, quick, and efficient communication is important. At the same time, personal interests have to take a step further into the background in some places. For us, it’s about the big picture. The challenge is to always keep facing the latest requirements, and to overcome them.
Claudia: In a quickly changing, digital, and constantly automated age, carrying on traditional jewelry making has great meaning for us – and for our customers. There’s a real longing for tactile experiences. High-quality handcraft is having a renaissance.
Which parts of the process absolutely have to stay the same? And in what areas do you want to modernize?
Alexander: It’s just the tradition of handcraft that has to stay the same. Everything else is always being tested.
Claudia: With our creations, we endeavor to satisfy people’s wish to differentiate themselves through the wearing of jewelry, to emphasize an individual personality. This form of expression has always existed in all cultures. We are convinced, and also thankful, that it will stay that way.
How should the development process of your jewelry pieces be understood? Which of you takes over which areas?
Alexander: The creative directorship still remains with my father, and as long as the work brings him as much joy as it does now, this intensive collaboration will hold true.
We get closer to the design process and the implementation in different ways. My father and I produce the first designs, which are then further developed into different variations. Before we realize a piece, it is modelled – sometimes with paper or wax – and castings are prepared. Our jewelry pieces are mostly comprised of many parts because the movement of individual components always plays an important role in our creations. We use materials like precious gems and gold, silver, platinum, bronze, and iron, but also modern materials like Corian and acrylic. The influences we cite in the design of our jewelry and in the objects couldn’t be more varied: One time we may orient ourselves on prehistoric or ancient models, another time on a European art era from Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Inspirations from Asian craftsmanship are just as possible. We transform the ideas that unfold into a contemporary language of objects. Motifs from nature, influences from fashion, inspiration from fairy tales and fables, or art and architecture – for us, they’re equally important reference points.
The pieces are produced in your Berlin space. Are unique pieces your primary focus? How does that work with the seasonal focus that the market possibly demands?
Alexander: Seasons don’t play as important a role as with fashion or a fashion accessory. We respond more to the wearer. Jewelry should always, and primarily, be the expression of the highest possible individuality. The jewelry is produced in both locations.
Claudia: Jewelry can, as has been said, always be inspired by fashion influences. A few beautiful examples can be found in our current collection with Stephanie Hahn from 22/4 HOMMES FEMMES, with which we reference her current summer collection. Jewelry design is, however, less dependent on seasons. It is longer lasting due to the value of fine materials. Another important reason for our focus on unique pieces or small editions with a one-off character is our pursuit of diversity. In other words, we simply find mass-produced jewelry too boring. Our customer base very much values that they don’t see the same pieces everywhere in their circle of friends.
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You also collaborate regularly with creative partners on special projects. Which of those are particularly close to you heart, how can one currently picture these, and can you tell us what will come next?
Alexander: The collaboration with Thierry Boutemy on the occasion of our Berlin opening was an affair of the heart. We hope to be able to expand on this next year in a different place. Thierry turned our new rooms into a magical forest of aster, leaves, and berries. He was completely free to do what he wanted. His design was inspired by our aster flower ring in yellow gold.
Claudia: We’re looking forward to the result of our new artist collaboration with Sissel Tolaas, which we’ll present in mid-September. Sissel works worldwide as a “smell expert,” or as she calls it herself, a “professional in-betweener” between science and art. She’s worked as a professor of “invisible communication and rhetoric” at Harvard Business School since 2006 and has wanted to realize a project with us for a while. When Georg met her a few months ago, he was immediately inspired by her subject. We are very excited to see what Sissel and Georg will develop together.
Georg Hornemann & Stephanie Hahn,
22/4 HOMMES FEMMES
Presentation of the collaboration 8th -14th of July 2017.
Tuesday – Saturday, 11am util 6pm
(or call for an appointment)
Translation: Melissa Frost
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.