PARTS OF FOUR TEXT (v0.9, by Evan Sugerman)
Parts of Four is a reimagining of [contemporary] jewelry with a total disregard for classical norms and trend based fashion. Non-seasonal and non-gendered, the brand uses the exploration of material, process and form as a basis to create an expanding body of work that builds upon itself rather than looking outwards. Parts of Four exists in a vacuum, without reference point, and attempts to maintain a ‘standing wave’ that steadily grows in intensity, layering onto itself over and over until it has defined a signature foundation of it’s own.
The collection is broken up into numerical series (Series 1, 2, 3….), with each fashion-calendar season we bring both a new series of new pieces and refinements to pieces from the previous series. The past series remain a part of the ever-growing “collection” and by doing this, the body of work is allowed to expand and contract (as old pieces are retired), organically moving towards a unified and resonant whole.
MODES (ORGANIC CROSS-POLLINATION)
Forms are used over and over again. Pieces are continually worked and re-worked. Materials and finishes are developed, abused and refined. These repetitive and constant modes naturally form relationships across product groups, one informing the other as an evolutionary cross breeding unfolds with one product adopting traits from another. This replication of a natural biological process is celebrated and exploited as much as possible. A ring becomes a bracelet which informs the volume of another bracelet which in turn is used as pendant which becomes the basis for a lamp and on and on. This circular process is constantly in play with absolute freedom to mutate. This droning and throbbing chemical creative process is our modus operandi… Repetitive and sometimes understated, it forms the undertone of the entire brand.
As we begin to add new categories of product and expand into collaborative projects like P4H (Parts of Four Home) the brand increases complexity as we become more involved in the determination of personal, spatial, life. The furniture and lighting, in many ways, are a literal scaling up of the formal ideas explored within the jewelry. This returns to ideas on architecture and the jewelry can then be seen as scale models for larger endeavors. A nod to the architectural process itself.
Our production model is both a celebration and resurrection of ancient manufacturing techniques. The hand can be seen in each piece, nothing is machine made. Everything is made within our own small artisanal facility which gives us the freedom to explore the boundaries of “making” and adjust production methods to meet the needs of all situations. Elasticity. This simply means we are able to produce anything since we define our own limits and control the process from end to end.
We combine these ancient techniques with new technology to create tension and
We use and seek many techniques to create our products with…. Some of the most used are metal casting, carving of wood, bone and minerals, plate metal hand fabrication and the fusing of materials to create our own composites. Surface treatments, revisions of classical techniques like electroplating with gold and silver but pushing the process to its limits and finding ways to intentionally destroy it.
MATERIAL AS MAGIC
The conversation of this project would be desperately incomplete without the mention of material. The substances from which we carve, cast and sculpt are essentially the life force of the brand. It is the searching for, discovery of and experimentation with materials that all else follows in suit. We believe in magic and the ability of material to hold history and power. It is this natural emanation (glow) that we try to preserve and amplify. In the end, creating magical objects is the ultimate goal; Hard-edged solid industrialized shamanic-tools.
Surface texture another key aspect to our endeavor. Surfaces are worked and reworked until a type of harmony is reached. Whether that harmony is achieved by destroying and rebuilding layers of material, fusing materials together, applying chemical (E.g. acid) treatments, electroplating or simply polishing a material that lends itself to be polished, the end result always strives to find resonance between material, texture and form.
PERSONAL NOTE ON DESIGN PROCESS
On inspiration; this project is an exploration in the dark and as such is somewhat void of particular inspirations in the capacity found in fashion, where collections have themes or reference points. Our collections are self referential.
Inspiration is absorbed in everyday life, countless times a day, but the process of creation I employ for this brand has become self-reflective and void [as much as possible] of external inspiration. When designing new pieces I do my best to take in as little visual stimulus, no images. This may sound extreme but I have personally found it too easy to become influenced and automatically begin to replicate rather than create. Obviously everything is based on something else, it would be absurd to argue that any idea is truly unique, but I do my best to keep that referencing subconscious.
I have found a sort of Zen quietness in this self imposed darkness and within that peaceful place I try to allow the forms to define themselves in the most non-conscious way I can, arriving as bursts of inspiration or found through empirical process. The latter much more akin to the work of an engineer than a designer.
I have recently come to the conclusion that my process is very much like the work of a [modular] sound synthesist, creating connections and exploring harmonics. Fundamental forms [frequencies] are used over and over again, layered, combined, filtered and re-shaped as a continuous process of seeking richer and more complex forms. Once you find a sweet spot, you delicately and precisely fine tune. I would say that is a very good analogy for the design process I use.
Lastly, music is certainly the most important influence. Whatever is playing in the studio, at a given time, has a immensely critical role in defining what is made. I am an obsessive music collector and change the playlist daily, this is basically the only barometer I have for change.
P4—Paris store map: