We speak to Malaika, the architect behind the jewellery brand, Chalk.
In a few words, tell us a bit about Chalk?
Chalk is a design studio based in London that create striking, geometric, wearable forms.
When did you start getting into jewellery design?
I studied architecture at Westminster and it was here that I realised that I love design and had a passion for creating objects. I frequently used the laser-cutting machine to build architectural models and this design process gradually translated into making jewellery.
What inspired you to start your own jewellery line?
Two major reasons, the first being, I really wanted to make pieces that were unique and that I would enjoy wearing.
The second, as much as I enjoy practicing architecture, it requires a great deal of patience, the processes can be very lengthy and it takes years from the point of design to a building's construction.
I yearned to create something that was more instantaneous and found the solution in making jewellery. It's so satisfying that I can design a wearable collection in months.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I enjoy working with walnut and acrylic, which form the basis of all my pieces. I like the way these contrasting materials really compliment one another. The walnut unifies the pieces providing depth and texture, whilst the acrylic injects a fun colourful element.
I’ve recently started working with silver, which is a totally new area for me. I’m a self-taught designer and haven’t done any formal jeweller training so working with precious metals brings new challenges as I learn new techniques, which I am really enjoying. I have been having fun playing with more three-dimensional sculptural forms, all will be revealed soon.
What message do you want to give through your collections?
I want my collections to take an audience on a journey to lands I have travelled to and experience that city though my eyes, experiences and inspirations.
Do you look to anyone in particular for inspiration?
I look at various brands, fashion and architectural designers for inspiration. I get excited looking at works by Celine, Acne and the renowned architect Carlo Scarpa. I tend to draw references from architectural silhouettes and cultural patterns rather than fashion symbols. I guess I feel more comfortable in the architectural realm.
How does living in London inspire your collections?
I am influenced by the creativity and energy that London emanates. Things are constantly evolving here which can be really thought provoking. Working as an architect at Michealis Boyd gives me an abundance of inspiration, I get to design, develop and experience beautiful spaces. I believe this has had a huge impact on the direction Chalk is moving towards.
The main inspiration from my past collections have come from regions abroad, places that I have travelled to and somehow felt a strong connection to.
What has been the highlight of your journey so far?
I have had so many great experiences but I would have to say my highlights have been when I least expect it and spot someone wearing a Chalk piece. I admire them from afar smiling to myself. Moments like these make it all worthwhile.
Where can people find your pieces?
All our collections are available at www.thechalkhouse.com