Zeemou Zeng graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA degree in Designer Maker. At the end of 2017, he founded a high-end jewellery brand ZEEMOU ZENG in London. With his exquisite craftsmanship, unique design concept, pay close attention to detail and wide knowledge of different materials, Zeemou Zeng won the 2018 "Bright Young Gems" design award by International Jewellery London.
'Melody' Collection, ZEEMOU ZENG fine jewellery
How you shift your career from studying Interior and Architecture design in China to designing fine jewellery?
I like interior design, but I am more obsessed with creating beautiful artwork. So after I resigned, I came to the UK to study Designer Maker. Interior design requires excellent spatial imagination and detail control, as same as making jewellery. I am fascinated by transit from the design drawings on the paper into tangible, touchable jewels that made by the most precious materials, and can interact with the wearer’s body.
When did you first realise that you want to be a jewellery designer?
I liked exquisite and gorgeous items from an early age. In the end, it became a jewellery designer. It is a process of slowly knowing and discovering oneself. I am glad to combine things that I am good at and I love.
'Melody' Collection, ZEEMOU ZENG
Who is your most admired designer? What effect does he/she bring to you?
Aldo Cipullo, the former designer of Cartier, his design philosophy has always influenced me. Cipullo once said: "Design has to be part of the function, that's the secret of success. When you have function and design, married together, "You always have a successful item." This is also the design philosophy that I have always adhered to. I hope that my work will be functional as well as convey beauty and story.
"I like jewellery pieces that make a statement but can be worn every day, possess both functionality and beauty, and this is my philosophy of design."
– Zeemou Zeng
Your Venus collection is influenced by the Italian Renaissance painter Botticelli, The Birth of Venus. What kind of inspiration does this painting and art, in general, give to you? As a designer, where does your creative inspiration come from?
In 2014, I saw Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The Venus was depicted as a goddess with delicate beautiful, subtle, with her feminine powers and strength. The brand's first high-end jewellery collection named Venus. It hopes that the jewellery of ZEEMOU ZENG brands will pass on the image of empowering women and enhancing their self-confidence and elegance. And the women who are wearing the jewellery could continuously pursue the attitude of freedom and happiness. I hope that every woman can be her goddess.
Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (c. 1484-86). 172.5 cm × 278.9 cm , Uffizi, Florence
All kinds of art forms must be connected. A piece of art can evoke people's emotions in many aspects, such as its colour, composition, lines, rhythm and material. As a jewellery designer, any thoughts and experiences in life can generate inspiration, ultimately, this kind of emotions is presented in the form of making jewellery.
What is the unique quality of your brand?
I insist on the innovation, beauty and functionality as the core of design. I believe that products are the most important thing. I strive to complete each piece with exquisite craftsmanship. I think that the outstanding design with the excellent product quality builds the foundation for this brand.
'Venus' Series, ZEEMOU ZENG
Artists and designers often project their own experiences in the creative process. Who are you designing the jewellery for and what do you want them to feel?
My mother has experienced many accidents, but she is a wise and strong woman. She has influenced my understanding of women since I was a child. This is one of the reasons why I want to be a jewellery designer. I am willing to use my jewellery to express my admiration and respect for women and to convey a message of being a self-confident, elegant, and women who constant pursuit of freedom and happiness.
'Venus', ZEEMOU ZENG
What is the difference between designing bespoke jewellery for others and designing your own collection?
Designing my collection, I can follow my inner thoughts, as a kind of self-expression, and also combines the needs of the market. While designing bespoke Jewellery, you should listen to customers' stories and needs, and present what they want in an appropriate way.
This year, you are selected by the International Jewellery London as one of the young talented designers. Is this award recognition and encouragement of your design?
Yes, this is the 13th BYG Award. Many of the previous winners have become well-known jewellery designers, such as Fernando Jorge, Tomasz Donocik, so I am pleased that I can be one of the four award-winning designers this year. Exhibiting my work at the London International Jewellery Show will be an excellent opportunity to expand the brand. I hope more customers will like and appreciate my work.
'Melody' Collection, ZEEMOU ZENG
Through designing the Melody series, how do you get an idea of creating the dynamic movement of pearl and adding sound when it moves?
Pearl is one of my favourite gems, and I have always sought an innovative way to apply pearls to jewellery. The Melody series breaks the traditional way of inlaid pearls. It does not need to be inlaid with pearls to preserve the perfect state of them. The pearls can rotate 360 degrees in the golden tubular structure and reveal the splendid of the lustre, which does not appear in the traditional design of pearl jewellery. The unique point is that every pearl of the Melody series can make different sounds according to the length of the gold tube.
What is one favourite piece of your work? Why?
The Melody series is my favourite work, because the whole series reflects my consistent design philosophy, which combines innovation, function and fun, and caters to the market demand.
Do you do other handicrafts in your spare time?
Yes, I have always been passionate about learning and understanding different crafts and materials, including ceramics, metal, woodworking, glass, etc. Only by knowing more about different materials and techniques, I can design unique works.
What are your favourite material?
Precious metals, gems and crystals are my favourite materials, but I will choose the most suitable material for each design.
Besides designing jewellery, you also design crystal ware. Do you have different experiences with the design of jewellery and crystal ware?
Crystal is one of my favourite materials. It has very strong plasticity. Many of my ideas can be realised through a crystal. Jewellery and crystal ware all belong to the art, and they all serve people's lives.
The brand has been founded for a year. What do you think is the biggest challenge you face, when setting up your own brand?
The biggest challenge is that I have multiple roles at the same time. In the early stage, as a founder and designer, I need to continually create new design work, to communicate regularly with the factory, to control the quality of a product, be responsible for market operations and to open up sales channels. However, I think this is an essential and necessary process.
How would you describe the future of your brand?
I hope to expand the brand product line continually. In the future, it will develop fashion accessories, interior art, perfume fragrances, etc., and ultimately become an internationally renowned brand of high-end lifestyle.
Image source: Zeemou Zeng