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Category Archives: Building Block

As architects we are involved in the process of cladding buildings, but many of us also take the process of cladding ourselves quite seriously. The word ‘architectural’ is somewhat overused in fashion, but there are a number of designers who do produce clothing, accessories and shoes that have a very strong relationship with architecture due to their geometry and detailing. As well, there are architects who design clothing, accessories and shoes.

One of the better known architects designing shoes is Rem D. Koolhaas, nephew of the Rem Koolhaas and also an architect. He founded United Nude some years ago and Zaha Hadid recently designed 3D-printed shoes for United Nude which are now available. They are ‘slightly’ beyond my budget. (We’re talking about a  ‘new laptop vs Zaha shoes’ dilemma.) The mainline includes the amazing Eamz shoes that I have written about previously, based on the Eames‘ chair.

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United Nude x Zaha Hadid shoes

I haven’t been able to determine if the designers behind the label Building Block are also architects but the influence is pretty clear in both the name and the construction of their handbags. Focusing on pure geometry, the bags even have geometric names like cylinder and square. The branding is also very architectural; bags are photographed against white walls with different textures or taped to a black background with coloured and metallic tape.

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Building Block cylinder and square bags

Miansai‘s cuffs and rings use screws and hinges and they look like they could be used for construction. They kind of make me want to reconsider always using silver-coloured screws for construction. Rose gold screws anyone? Interestingly, not everything they produce is as architectural.
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Miansai Squared Ring, Modern Screw Cuff Ring and Modern Flat Ring

Reed Krakoff‘s jewellery also involves screws but its architectural quality is also evident in the use of grids. The ‘machined cuff’ is like a rolled up architectural facade.

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Reed Krakoff Machined Two-Tone Cuff and T-Bar Drop Earrings

Like Miansai, In God We Trust have a range of items and they’re not all particularly architectural, albeit very cool. I did get pretty excited seeing a pair of earrings simply called Bauhaus Earrings. I recently entered a competition for the design of the new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau so I have Bauhaus on the brain.

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IGWT Bauhaus Earrings

Halston Heritage has been around for a lot longer than some of the other brands mentioned above and have a very wide range of products, but their shimmering rectangular minaudieres fit the architectural profile.

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Halston Heritage Lucite Minaudieres

Maryam Nassir Zadeh has been getting noticed a lot lately and her collaboration with MAKE cosmetics is exciting both for its architectural appearance and its source of inspiration. It was inspired by Antonioni‘s film Il Deserto Rosso. Though it may not be obvious, Antonioni did form part of my architectural education. It’s the branding that first caught my eye as the packages are presented as if they were a model of a city.

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MAKE Cosmetics x Mariam Nassir Zadeh Celeste e Verde collection

Like Rem D. Koolhaas, I have also applied my architectural training to design products. My own design store, Scaffold & Lace also focuses on pure geometry like Building Block. Our new collection is on its way but in the meantime, here are our geometric bamboo, walnut and felt brooches.

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Scaffold & Lace geometric brooches