Shahar Livne designs fossil-like jewellery for Balenciaga from ocean plastic

Dezeen-Awards winner Shahar Livne worked with Balenciaga to design a line of "dystopian" ocean-plastic jewellery for the luxury fashion brand's latest Fall 2021 collection.

The jewellery range, which comprises three different bangles, one ring and two pairs of hooped earrings, was designed to complement Balenciaga's Afterworld: Age of Tomorrow collection.

The Balenciaga accessories team adapted the shapes of vintage jewellery pieces from their archives, before handing them over to Livne, who remolded them to give them a new "fossilized" texture.

This was done by recreating them from a mixture of ocean plastic retrieved by Oceanworks and calcium carbonate – a waste product from the marble industry.

Jewellery designs by Shahar Livne for Balenciaga's Fall 2021 collection
Dezeen-Awards winner Shahar Livne designed the jewellery for Balenciaga's Fall21 line

As the designer told Dezeen, she and Balenciaga's creative director Demna Gvasalia used the same method that Livne developed during her personal Metamorphism project to create the jewellery.

The project saw her develop a clay-like material called Lithoplast using discarded plastic that she imagined could be mined as a precious material in the future, when plastic production will have ceased.

This was done by mixing the materials, using heat and pressure, before shaping them by hand.

Jewellery designs by Shahar Livne for Balenciaga's Fall 2021 collection
The jewellery is made from a mixture of ocean plastic and calcium carbonate

After this had been done, the final pieces were 3D scanned and 3D printed to create a unified look for the collection. These models were then reproduced, moulded again using the same, initial process of heat, pressure and hand-shaping.

Each piece was finished by hand by Livne, who employed techniques used by goldsmiths to give the accessories a unified, yet still handmade look. This included fitting the jewellery with metal parts such as the ear pieces of the earrings.

Jewellery designs by Shahar Livne for Balenciaga's Fall 2021 collection
Each of the pieces were 3D-printed before being remoulded by hand

"I applied [the material] here with a lot of handwork and craftsmanship attitude," said the designer. "The plastic composite becomes natural-looking and becomes precious as a futuristic semi-natural and scarce material."

Both the garments and the jewellery also took inspiration from Gvasalia's idea of "the comeback of youth, where nature and youth co-exist", Livne added.

Balenciaga's Fall 2021 collection featuring jewellery by Shahar Livne
The Fall21 collection was released as part of a video game

The Afterworld: Age of Tomorrow collection was released earlier this month in the form of a video game, which takes players through different levels in a wonderland-style future world filled with avatars dressed in the new garments.

The collection is set to be made available for purchasing in May 2021.

According to Livne, the collaboration between her and Balenciaga was "a great match", as the brand's vision for the future and her philosophical and material research blended together to turn classic plastic designs into "a dystopian futuristic look".

Render of the jewellery designs by Shahar Livne for Balenciaga's Fall 2021 collection
Livne and Balenciaga wanted the jewellery to have a fossil-like appearance

At this year's Dezeen Awards, Livne won the title of emerging designer of the year, which the judges said is a "great example of how design is about designing the future, designing how we live and how we can use our voices – to communicate to others."

The designer's previous work has seen her create a pair of sneakers that have alternative-leather inserts made from the wasted fat, bones and blood of animals.

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