We are pleased to share with you some background information about the development and the inspiration sources of our Metropolis fine jewelry collection. We have divided this information into three sections:
- Metropolis, the cinema masterpiece
- Metropolis as source of inspiration for the Decimononic team
- The Metropolis Fine Jewelry Collection by Decimononic
1.- Metropolis, the cinema masterpiece
Metropolis is a silent German expressionist movie directed by Fritz Lang and starred by Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. The screenplay of Metropolis was written by Fritz Lang and Thea Von Harbou (his wife at the time); in fact, the plot originated from a novel written by Harbou for the sole purpose of being made into a film. Harbou and Lang collaborated on the screenplay derived from the novel, and several plot points and thematic elements (including most of the references to magic and occultism present in the book) were dropped. Despite this, the movie drew heavily on Biblical sources for several of its key set-pieces and multiple references to occult and/or religious symbolism may be easily found: pentacles, the tower of Babel, the figure of ‘Babylon the Great’, the Seven Deadly Sins, Frankenstein, Moloch, the Grim Reaper…
Because of its long running-time and the inclusion of footage which censors found questionable, Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere and large portions of the film were lost over the subsequent decades. However, a damaged print of Lang’s original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina in 2008. After a long restoration process, the film was 95% restored and shown on large screens in Berlin and Frankfurt simultaneously in 2010.
Filmed in 1925 and produced in the Babelsberg Studios by UFA, at a cost of approximately five million Reichsmarks, Metropolis was the most expensive film ever released up to that point. This colossal effort was rewarded, as the premiere took place in 1927 and the movie was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in the same year. There is no doubt that this epic science-fiction movie marked a turning in the history of cinema, and not only because it was the first feature length movie of the genre. It has become a work of art positioned in our collective memory due to its influence as social allegory, showing us a futuristic urban dystopia more valid than ever before.
2.- Metropolis as source of inspiration for the Decimononic team
Two reasons led us to take Metropolis a source of inspiration: on one hand, its a hymn to the singularity of the human being; on the other hand, it played a decisive role in the subsequent development of Art Déco.
2.1.- The importance of Singularity: empowering the individual
One of the reasons why Metropolis is one of the most important movies of the cinema’s history is the plethora of topics may be found in its storyline. As journalist Steve Rose said, ‘But in its broader strokes, Metropolis draws on deep roots (Biblical, Jungian, Wagnerian, fairy-tale) to explore themes that continue to concern us: the dehumanising effects of industrialisation; the fetishisation of technology; the divide between the rich and poor, the rulers and the labourers, the “head” and the “hands”. Politically, the film has been read across the spectrum, from social-democratic to pro-fascist’. However, there is one topic that we cannot help but emphasize.
We would prefer to avoid spoilers (maybe you have not seen this movie yet!), but we would like to point out that Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), who could be considered the main protagonist, behaves as no one around would expect: pursuing his individual voice, he challenges the expectations of all those around him to do what he considers correct, taking full responsibility as unique human being and citizen. In this sense, Freder, as archetypal rebel figure, is an unbeatable example of True Singularity.
2.2.- Design: Bauhaus and Art Deco
Two of our favorite design movements from the early 20th century can be easily traced in Metropolis: the contrasting and almost coetaneous Bauhaus and Art Déco styles.
Some points in common between them were the use of geometries, bright and contrasting colors and new materials; however, and despite its similarities, from a theoretical point of view these styles represent opposing theories, styles, materials and methods of design:
- On one hand, designers trained at the Bauhaus art and design school in Germany developed an ascetic, purist visual vocabulary based on clean, simple geometric forms with bare surfaces that they considered appropriate for standardized industrial production and efficient living.
- On the other hand, Art Déco artists combine the austere shapes of Bauhaus architecture and the streamlined styling of modern technology with patterns and icons from Africa, ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, India, the Far East and mesoamerican cultures like Aztec and Mayan. Its most representative works exemplify the reassertion of traditional skilled handcraft for a small, privileged clientele.
To sum up, talking in general terms Bauhaus works were minimalist, functional and made with cheap materials, while Art Déco works were profusely decorated, sumptuous and made with expensive materials.
We have been fascinated by both Bauhaus and Art Déco styles for ages, so this was a perfect opportunity to unleash our creativity in order to bring you the best of it. If you want to learn more about the influence of the Bauhaus and Art Déco styles in Metropolis, feel free to read these blog posts resulting of our own research:
- ‘The influence of the Bauhaus art school in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis’.
- ‘The influence of the Art Déco movement in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis’.
3.- The Metropolis Fine Jewelry Collection by Decimononic
We would like to think that this collection gathers the best of tradition and modernity, reformulating classical designs and offering a new aesthetic approach due to the use of state-of-the-art technology and materials. The Metropolis Collection has been devised to bring something new to the world of jewelry by means of combining the geometrical lines and chromatic richness characteristic of the Art Déco movement with the use of an innovative material as anodized titanium.
From a technical point of view, the development of this collection has not been a minor challenge. We have had to learn how to properly work with titanium, a material known by its hardness (it has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element), low heat conductivity and the impossibility to be soldered (so we decided to invest in a micro TIG welder). In light of these properties and the need to get perfect geometrical shapes, laser cutting became the perfect choice… but we needed to improve our computer aided design skills to transform the preliminary sketches into functional computer files. This has taken an enormous effort, it is true,but we are really proud of the results. A fresh, dynamic and inspiring jewelry collection that raises admiration thanks to its atemporal designs and the astonishing range of color that the combination of sterling silver and anodized titanium provides.
As you know, we intend to create not only jewels, but ‘Reminders of Singularity’. For this reason we do hope that every time you wear one of Decimononic’s pieces of jewelry you remember that you are unique. And this is a big power and, accordingly, a big responsibility. Always remember: be Singular.