Interview with Gulsah Surel Erdem at Monday 25th of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
GS : Praying on water, charging it with goodwill is a strong faith present in almost all cultures. I wanted to provide that the wearer feels the good energy by transforming an object connected to this faith into a jewel.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
GS : The focus of my design was to transform the drinking bowl of the Ottoman culture that was used to drink water to find healing, into a special jewel while staying true to its original form.
DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
GS : I would love to this personally special design be exhibited in Modern Art museums such as the Moma or Tate Modern; and marketed in sales points where people who value design can acquire it.
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
GS : The period between me encountering the object that inspired this design at the Topkapi Palace and the launch of the ring is exactly 14 months.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
GS : This was not a subject I particularly chose; I actually did not even have a plan for a new collection. I was very affected while touring the museum with my son; the inspiration came and this new collection was born.
DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
GS : This collection was entirely hand-produced for House of DIV by the valuable jewelry masters in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. At the moment, it is being sold at the stores of the oldest fashion brand of Turkey, Vakko. Our aim is to present it to art, history and jewelry lovers in different locations around the world.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
GS : It is my way of designing pieces that have a source of inspiration and live within a story and this also is what sets House of DIV apart.
DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
GS : Objects that have no known designers but have completed their design process years ago and entered our lives and the perfect design of the universe reverberate themselves in my work.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
GS : Women with an age of 25 to 55, who are aware of design, who are chic and timeless and special, looking for a ¨Something special¨. Women pride herself on her accessories, especially when they are noticed by others, who loves silence luxury.
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
GS : Apart of the design philosophy, the most outstanding feature is that it is ergonomic and the flawless, excellent workmanship.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
GS : The bowl that inspired the design is named the healing bowl in the Ottoman Culture. With the sacred prayers and symbols engraved onto it, it is believed that it gives healing to the person who drinks water from. For this reason the ring is named the Charmed Bowl.
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
GS : Sketching paper, pencils and moldings what all I need.
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
GS : Its most striking feature is that it turned into a jewel without losing its original functionality. If you wish to do so, you still might drink a sip of water from it.
DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
GS : The idea, sketch and prototype of this design are solely mine. The production is the unique masters who work at the House of DIV workshop.
DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
GS : Even though the production process is traditional, we support the proportion and ergonomics with 2D and 3D drawings.
DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
GS : After encountering the inspiring object in the museum tour, I found myself in the bookstore and read almost all literature regarding the subject.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
GS : My most difficult challenge is to produce lightweight objects of big designs.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
GS : It was a very exhilarating design process for me and when I put on the resulting ring with much love onto my finger, I felt that I needed to announce it on an international level.
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
GS : I studied architecture and worked as an architect for many years. Design was already my job. To learn how to make jewelry, I sat down at the production table and was trained by the masters of the craft. I also learned about the nuances of jewelry design in the past year at GIA London.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
GS : This object is the master piece of the Charmed Shirts collection. Each piece of the collection carries different symbols and is very special and precious to me. I thank to the judging members both for my self and on behalf of my team at House of DIV.