LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Larissa Moraes ("LM") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

LM : I grew up in colorful household filled with art history books, canvases and brushes. Being the daughter of a struggling artist, I sought refuge in the pursuit of a stable career in law. After studying law, I started working as a legal aide in Brazil´s Senate and the federal government in Brasilia, Brazil´s capital. After years of exposure to heavy state bureaucracy, I realized that my heart was not where my work was and strived to find other employment opportunities where I could satisfy my creative desires. A friend of mine introduced me to the jewelry world and it was love at first sight. I initially started drawing and designing after I would return home from work… Shortly after those designs became my first few pieces… and now it has become a fulltime labor of love. I began designing fulltime towards the end of 2018. In early 2019 I started working on my “dream collection” and finally found the courage to post some of my works on Instagram. These posts changed my life. Shortly after, I received invites to participate in several jewelry exhibits after which I decided to show my collection at the Brazil Jewelry Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The feedback I received was so positive that it only reinforced my decision to design fulltime. That was when Larissa Moraes Jewelry was born! Courage breeds courage! I decided to participate in the A' Design Award and Competition in March 2020 and won gold prize! Later in the same year, I won MJSA Vision Awards First and Second Place in the Professional Excellence, 1-3 Years in Business category and Honorable Mention for Colored Stone Distinction, The sensation I felt in knowing that people could truly appreciate the love that I poured into my work was unmeasurable. I could finally say, “My work is my love, my love is my work”

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

LM :

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

LM : By fate, by luck, the universe... Being the daughter of struggling artist, I hadn't had any contact with jewelry or anything related to this industry until I was introduced to jewelry by a friend. Since then I imagine jewelry in almost everything I see. During my adolescence, I understood the difficulties of an artist's life and decided to opt for a more stable career. I studied law and followed a legal career in Brasilia, where I worked in the Senate and the Federal Government. However, my heart was never fully in it and I tried to find another alternative to work and fulfillment for myself. I continued my legal job during the day and spent the nights coloring and drawing jewelry. I made one jewel for a friend who asked me to design a bespoke piece for them and I also produced some pieces in an experimental partnership with my friend’s jewelry store. At the end of 2018, depressed and saddened by the rigidity of my daily work, I sought comfort in art and started designing the jewelry collection of my dreams. In early 2019, I made some pieces of the collection and posted the images on Instagram. In a few days, my life changed! I was invited to participate in design and jewelry fairs and this new path began. Satisfied and driven by the excellent receptivity of my first collection, I abandoned my legal career and embraced the project that gives me more joy. Producing jewelry is like living a dream! I've never been happier! It's that energy, which was dormant for so many years, that I put into my work.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

LM : My jewelry is art you wear. It's sculpture that displays itself on the body. It's beauty, history and meaning. It is color and defiance, movement in rigidity. It's love.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

LM : I don't feel like a legend. My career is too short to consider me legend.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

LM : For me, the design must have both beauty and balance. Alongside the visual aspect, I always consider the fit and the weight of the piece, for example how a necklace might sit on the neckline, or for a pair of earrings, how they hang and look on the ear. That's a good design. A great design accompanies a story or inspiration that moved us.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

LM : The affection, the search for perfection, exquisite raw materials, the concern with the details, concern for the environment and the production chain.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

LM : Design is investment. because it is fundamental to good results. With a well thought out design, large jewelry can be lightweight; elaborate jewelry can have fit and comfort; a jewel with design is striking, unique and unforgettable

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

LM : Time is not the problem. To produce high jewelry, good raw materials are very expensive. I dream of an unlimited budget at least once in my life.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

LM : My career is very short yet (officially started in April 2019). Therefore, I have several dream projects to accomplish. The first of these is to make my second collection.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

LM : Hard work, humility and love. Succeeding on this path is very important to me, I can't go back to the legal career.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

LM : My inspiration comes mainly from art. I imagine a way to turn the art of great masters into a piece that can be worn, that can be worn. In my first collection, I immersed myself in Van Gogh's work and created pieces that challenge logic through textures, twists and colors. I am currently working on three collections where I seek to recreate in jewelry the emotion I feel when observing the works of art.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

LM : I have no favorites, really.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

LM : I don't think I have any favorite pieces. I love them all because of the story behind every jewel. What I can highlight is the gratitude I feel for three jewels from the Van Gogh collection (Sunflowers Earrings, Almond Earrings and the Gladioli Necklace) the jewels awarded in A' Design Award and Competition and MJSA Vision Awards! These awards have elevated my self-confidence and made me believe that I am finally in the right place! I am grateful to the contests and grateful for the jewels that presented me to the world and opened so many doors to me!

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

LM : My career is too short , I’m in no position to give advices.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

LM : I went the other way: I had another career for many years to now become a designer. Knowing what I know today, there's no other career for me.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

LM : Efficiency associated with beauty. it's caring, connection. A design piece is thought of in all its aspects: beauty, comfort, fit, durability... The raw materials are exquisite. It is possible to feel the love and dedication applied to the object, to the jewel. Each piece has its own story and it makes us connect with it. The encounter with a piece of design is always unforgettable. Design is how life should be.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

LM : On this new journey I had help from many people. But I myself was my biggest supporter: I had the courage to change, resilience, humility. I reinvented myself to be happy (instead of watching life go by).

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

LM : I don't feel like a great designer. My career is too short to consider me great.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

LM : I don't feel like a design master. My career is too short to consider me desiign master. The natural obstacles I believe every new brand faces; finding the most suitable production and sales channels. Although our greatest struggles have brought the highest rewards; I have been lucky enough to encounter skilled people in the field who have helped make my visions a reality. Seeing my hard work and designs recognized by people whom I look up to and admire has been a great success moment for me.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

LM : I make unique pieces, one off a kind and handmade. I take this concept to the presentation and to the packaging: everything is handmade and personalized. That's one way to tell my client how special she is, about how much time of dedication she deserves.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

LM : I have to keep somethings a secret! However, I will say that I am working on a few different collections at the moment, each will be an authentic surprise. You can expect to find unusual gemstones, new structures, something new but aligned with the brand. I have some of the pieces sketched from what drew me to the inspiration. My only clues are: The Beatles, Art Nouveau (a fictitious meeting between Louis Tiffany and Victor Horta;) Monet; Gustav Klimt e. I can’ t say anything else right now!

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

LM : Personally my goal is consolidate my own jewelry brand, I wanted to design beautiful, wearable pieces of art that became one with the wearer. It has always been my vision and personal goal to promote beauty and growth of everyone around me.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

LM : I do not know. From me creativity, difficulty communicating in English and a lot of sense of humor.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

LM : The production system has been changing over the past few years and the pandemic caused by covid-19 will certainly accelerate this process. Using conflict free materials and taking responsibility for the environment and society are determining factors for products to be well received in the market, especially in the international market. That's already a reality for the brand.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

LM : I think because of the social isolation we're living in, I've decided that my next collection will be about encounters. I imagined some fictional encounters among art nouveau geniuses. In this case Victor Horta (Belgian architect) receives a visit from Gustav Klimt (Austrian painter) and together they make a collection of jewels. In the second encounter, Victor receives Louis Tiffany (American designer) to make another jewelry collection. These are encounters that probably never happened because at the time traveling was limited and difficult. In 2020 we too are limited and restricted and encounters can only happen theoretically’ or in our imagination. Let's imagine, then!

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

LM : Work on demand. We all have stories, desires and images that deserve to be transformed into a lasting work of art. The client ell us your story and let us develop a unique design proposal for her. We immortalize memories in the colors and shapes that only precious metals and gemstones can convey.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

LM : My career is too short to see necessary changes. I'm on my honeymoon. this is a lighter, gentler, lovingworld than I lived. Now all praise and hope...

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

LM : I hope it's the beginning of a greater appreciation of art and design. That more people understand that a chair, a bottle and a jewel, for example, need not only be a chair, a bottle and a jewel, they can also be works of art elaborated with affection, with care for the environment, with the appreciation of differences.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

LM : Depends. Some projects need to be revisited and rethought several times and others are born practically ready. Some jewels needed nine drawings and some only one. I don't know why.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

LM : My work begins with a research process where I look up paintings or, for example,with my first collection, a canvas Van Gogh created. Once chosen, I look up whatinspired the piece. I look at and research everything from the colors to the shapes,the hidden details and whatever you might not even think to look at. Then I conceptualize my idea, analyze the painting at hand and figure out how I cantranslate their art form into mine.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

LM : Larissa being Larissa.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

LM : Personally, the pandemic has brought me even more appreciation for freedom. Freedom if it is, freedom to be. More than ever, no one can limit my creation. I want exuberance, lots of colors. I want to celebrate that we went through so many obstacles in 2020 and we've overcome. In my next collection I want to celebrate life, love and unity, I want to celebrate the encounters, I want to celebrate the ideal world!

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

LM : My jewelry is unique and handmade. My drawings are made with pencil and eraser. The use of technology happens more when researching..

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

LM : Designing jewelry is my obsession. I think about it all day. My best friends are pencil and eraser.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

LM : I love colours. For me, gemstones are my color palette. First I decide what I want to draw and then I look for the perfect tones... the gemstones are the paint of my painting and even the stones that are not celebrated in the right context form masterpieces. the strength of his brushstrokes and the themes he chose.” One such artwork, Vase with Irises, became a muse for the designer’s collection. To depict the myriad shades of blue seen in the canvas,

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

LM : Ask me about the inspiration and the history of the jewel. It makes me very happy and proud of what I've created.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

LM : I want to buy, of course.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

LM : I believe in co-design! Tell this to all designers: I would love a partnership!

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

LM : The masters of painting are my greatest influence (Yes, I know I do not interact with them... hahaha). I also listen a lot to the goldsmiths who work with me, they're great.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

LM : Part of my creative process is immersion in the theme. For example, in the Van Gogh-inspired jewelry collection, each piece is inspired by a different painting, and then I read about the various interpretations of the work, the context of Van Gogh's life (what he wrote in the letters to his brother at that time), details about his inspiration (what flower he painted, what the characteristics of the place were). Now, I am immersed in several books on the theme of my new collection: art nouveau.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

LM : I don't feel like a design master. My career is too short to consider me desiign master.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

LM : I would love to meet strong women: - Frida Kahlo: a strong woman engaged politically with an optimistic vision despite all her suffering and a brilliant artist; - Coco Chanel: A very successful woman, excellent designer, businesswoman and with an exquisite aesthetic sense. - Nina Simone: Talented, profound and forerunner in the fight for human rights - Diane von Fürstenberg: In addition to wonderful designer, businesswoman if successful, she reaches out to new designers to support them on their journey - Melinda Gates: A super intelligent woman engaged in improving the world - Reese Witherspoon: She realized that most of the female roles in her acting career were at least uninteresting and took a more aggressive role buying scripts with female lead characters and has produced these pieces (In addition to being an excellent actress) - Regina King: As well as being an excellent actress, she features prestigious women in her productions (I also do this, only contract boys in the absence of talented girls) - Emma Watson: Excellent actress and spokesperson of feminism for this new generation (very intelligent girl) - Ana Khouri: Super talented Brazilian jewelry designer. With my current experience, I know how she faced and overcame obstacles to be successful.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

LM : Contests are a wonderful way to showcase new brands. For one, you’ll be introduced to opinion makers, more retail opportunities, which includes some of the best stores in the world. Personally, for me, it made me more confident and validated that I am in the right place. I was fortunate enough to win not one, but two contest that I participated in: A' Design Award Winner - Gold & Designer of the Year Nominee and MJSA Vision Award Winner - 1st & 2nd Place & Honorable Mention for Colored Stone Distinction. I'm not famous YET!

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

LM : I have no favorites, not even food, movie, music, color, place...

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

LM : When showed a sketch to goldsmith he said that the necklace's design was unbalanced. I explained that I wanted it just like that. He told me that the rule is to align the necklace with the breasts. I said to him: this is contemporary jewelry—there are no rules. The necklace turned into first place Vision Award winner (Professional Excellence),

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

LM : Depends on the stage of creation of the jewel: Initial planning phase (research, context), Drawing, Acquisition of raw materials, Preparation follow-up with goldsmiths (depends on the availability of goldsmiths), Ready-made: photographs and material preparation… There is no routine, which makes me very happy. What motivates me? Coffee and never return to the legal career!! :)

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

LM : I've always loved drawing and coloring. Art classes were my favorite but I loved other subjects too: Portuguese language, geography, mathematics, for example. My notebooks were always colorful. I have very happy memories of that time.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

LM : A thousand years is a long time! I want to think about the second, the third collection...

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

LM : Thank you very much to everyone who is with me on this journey! I never thought I'd have so much support and acceptance. Thank you so much!

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

I GREW UP IN COLORFUL HOUSEHOLD FILLED WITH ART HISTORY BOOKS, CANVASES AND BRUSHES. BEING THE DAUGHTER OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST, I SOUGHT REFUGE IN THE PURSUIT OF A STABLE CAREER IN LAW. AFTER STUDYING LAW, I STARTED WORKING AS A LEGAL AIDE IN BRAZIL´S SENATE AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN BRASILIA, BRAZIL´S CAPITAL. AFTER YEARS OF EXPOSURE TO HEAVY STATE BUREAUCRACY, I REALIZED THAT MY HEART WAS NOT WHERE MY WORK WAS AND STRIVED TO FIND OTHER EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WHERE I COULD SATISFY MY CREATIVE DESIRES. A FRIEND OF MINE INTRODUCED ME TO THE JEWELRY WORLD AND IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. I INITIALLY STARTED DRAWING AND DESIGNING AFTER I WOULD RETURN HOME FROM WORK… SHORTLY AFTER THOSE DESIGNS BECAME MY FIRST FEW PIECES… AND NOW IT HAS BECOME A FULLTIME LABOR OF LOVE. I BEGAN DESIGNING FULLTIME TOWARDS THE END OF 2018. IN EARLY 2019 I STARTED WORKING ON MY “DREAM COLLECTION” AND FINALLY FOUND THE COURAGE TO POST SOME OF MY WORKS ON INSTAGRAM. THESE POSTS CHANGED MY LIFE. SHORTLY AFTER, I RECEIVED INVITES TO PARTICIPATE IN SEVERAL JEWELRY EXHIBITS AFTER WHICH I DECIDED TO SHOW MY COLLECTION AT THE BRAZIL JEWELRY WEEK IN SAO PAULO, BRAZIL. THE FEEDBACK I RECEIVED WAS SO POSITIVE THAT IT ONLY REINFORCED MY DECISION TO DESIGN FULLTIME. THAT WAS WHEN LARISSA MORAES JEWELRY WAS BORN! COURAGE BREEDS COURAGE! I DECIDED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE A' DESIGN AWARD AND COMPETITION IN FEBRUARY 2020 AND WON GOLD PRIZE! THE SENSATION I FELT IN KNOWING THAT PEOPLE COULD TRULY APPRECIATE THE LOVE THAT I POURED INTO MY WORK WAS UNMEASURABLE. I COULD FINALLY SAY, “MY WORK IS MY LOVE, MY LOVE IS MY WORK”


Van Gogh  Earrings

Van Gogh Earrings by Larissa Moraes


Van Gogh's Rosebush Necklace

Van Gogh's Rosebush Necklace by Larissa Moraes


Van Gogh's Gladioli Necklace

Van Gogh's Gladioli Necklace by Larissa Moraes


Van Gogh's Sunflower Earrings

Van Gogh's Sunflower Earrings by Larissa Moraes

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