This solid-gold piece of jewelry, which makes a technical and even almost sculptural impression, is the result of an experimental marriage of the traditional jeweler’s art with contemporary product design. Ever since its establishment in 1814, the Viennese jewelers’ dynasty of Köchert has been one of Austria’s best-known jewelry producers. Until the monarchy ended in 1918, A. E. Köchert was Kammerjuwelier to the Austrian Imperial Court— and the “Sisi Stars” designed by Köchert for Empress Elisabeth in 1874 still number among today’s best-known pieces of jewelry. Collaboration with artists and architects has been an important aspect of Köchert’s nearly 200-year success story. Such efforts gave rise to jewelry of the Viennese Art Nouveau and Wiener Werkstätte based on designs by Josef Hoffmann, and later on by architects including Oswald Haerdtl and Hans Hollein. The dynasty’s sixth generation is continuing to uphold this tradition via collaboration with product designers such as Sebastian Menschhorn, Nicolas Le Moignen and now Thomas Feichtner. “A bracelet is a product and hence also a work of product design, but it remains situated beyond all rational elements of the design process. It is a very direct form of design, independent of all expectations. It is not design as a way of solving a problem—it is just design. That’s why I find it so refreshing,” says Feichtner.
Seen from the perspective of cultural history, the bracelet has always been a central element of spiritual and cultural expression. Its use goes back to the very beginnings of humankind. As one of jewelry’s archetypes, it was a medium of ornamentation, symbolism and status across all cultural realms. Feichtner’s bracelet does not make use of ornamentation as such—on the contrary, his bracelet is reduced to a polished square profile and thus becomes the subject of ornamentation via the bending of the line. The outline of the bracelet is similar to an infinite loop, a geometric and constructive play on structural design and function. The bracelet touches the wrist of the wearer at only three points, each of which is diagonally opposite the other. The hand is inserted not axially and in the center, but rather diagonally and from the side. Only when the bracelet is straightened is the wrist centered therein. The bracelet’s open, symmetrical construction is based on a hexagonal form—a reference to earlier works by Feichtner in the fields of furniture and tableware. This Hexagonal Bracelet has been produced in a series of 20 successively numbered exemplars. It was part of the Wien Product Collection of 2011.