Live at Design Miami: Gold and Diamond Chandelier

Any designer whose press release includes the word sybaritic is not your usual animal. So it is with London-based jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge, who was once a linguist. Her unwearable jewelry is currently aglint and aglow at Design Miami, as the centerpiece of Sebastian + Barquet’s exhibit; never mind that Sebastian + Barquet usually specialize in 1940s to 1960s American and European design, they couldn’t help being attracted to Azagury-Partridge’s voluptuous chandelier. Like something out of The Thousand and One Nights, Azagury-Partridge’s chandelier recalls ancient Persia with its globose form and pensile ornamentation: it’s as sensual as Scheherazade’s silken pantaloons or Sinbad’s pointy slippers. Azagury-Partridge compares the chandelier’s Oriental decadence to “the lost earring of a mysterious and shameless princess”-a fantastical object reminiscent of nineteenth-century luxury that virtually emanates “the wicked aroma of dangerous and mesmerizing beauty.”

Gold and Diamond Chandelier. Designed by Solange Azagury-Partridge. Exhibited via Sebastian + Barquet.

Live at Design Miami: Gold and Diamond ChandelierLive at Design Miami: Gold and Diamond Chandelier

Her chandelier strikes me as the perfect symbol for Miami, whose tropical heat and Caribbean influence make the city a den of extravagance-the city maintains an almost colonial flair for the debauched. It borders on the sickeningly sweet-like an overripe mango, its sugars pooling in crystalline orbs atop the fruit’s sticky skin. I can think of no better place for Azagury-Partridge’s chandelier to reign supreme, making the very fixtures drip with gems. And that’s the very idea behind Unwearable Jewels: the collection “features decorative objects that incorporate precious and semi-precious stones … each one more excessive than the last.” Encrusted with 220 carats of diamonds, the Gold and Diamond Chandelier is made from delicate links suspended in arcs to form a sensual pear shape that ends in a sharp point, reminiscent of the central medallions of ancient Persian rugs. The chandelier’s 18 ct. white gold, however, is blackened, giving the material a smoky effect. Azagury-Partridge’s design, with its opulent materials, recalls the exotic: hanging Moroccan lanterns and strong Turkish coffee, not to mention the more tempting Eastern delights-figs and harems come to mind.

A jewelry designer with no formal training, Solange Azagury-Partridge began her Home Collection auspiciously in 2005 with the Pergola Chandelier, a colorful arrangement of grape bunches-quite Dionysian. Designed for Swarovski, Pergola launched at the Milan Furniture Fair and at 100% Design in London. The Gold and Diamond Chandelier continues Azagury-Partridge’s bejeweled extravagance-this time at Design Miami, where her newest Unwearable Jewel serves as an apt symbol for the city’s lavish tastes.

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