Sometimes inspiration comes from the most ordinary experiences. For Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Shahla Karimi, that inspiration came from her daily commute. Drawing from the MTA subway map, Karimi has created a collection of rings and cuffs that trace transit routes between some of the city’s most famous destinations. For the aptly-named Subway Series, Karimi creates a simplicity in design which contradicts the chaotic frequency that buzzes beneath the streets of the five boroughs. “If you can look past the noise of the text, the lines are very organic and beautiful when isolated,” Karimi explains.
Shahla Karimi presented the Subway Series to CH during our third annual Pitch Night. The collection, which is part of Karimi’s just launched online shop, consists of three cuffs and three rings which can be worn individually or stacked. The first Series features three unique routes—Inwood to World Trade Center, Yankee Stadium to Wall Street, and Harlem to South Ferry—available in sterling silver, 14k gold and, next month, gold vermeil. Karimi hopes, however, to expand the collection to cover more of the city. “There are so many routes I want to create,” she says, “I have to finish [Manhattan] and then Brooklyn will be next—it’s where I live and work.” Karimi will also introduce a finer line that will feature diamonds to mark express stops.
Karimi uses 3D software and printing to design the Subway Series, which she says is the only way she could have possibly captured the exact curves of each route. “I would have never been able to hand carve these to be an exact tracing of the current map,” she says. Karimi also uses traditional lost-wax casting methods, creating what she calls an “intersection of old world techniques and new world technologies.” Through this fusion, Karimi presents a seamless, polished collection that holds mystery in its abstract forms.
Karimi shows ultimate appreciation for the city that inspires her by keeping all of her manufacturing in NYC, noting that keeping production local is very important to her. Though she has been working in product and product strategy for nearly a decade, her store launch marks Karimi’s debut as an independent designer. “Launching my own jewelry line has been a pipe dream since 2007,” she says.
Subway Series silver rings ($160 for a set of three) and cuffs ($200 each) are available for pre-sale online, shipping 11 November 2014. The collection will also be available at the STORY holiday shop (144 10th Ave, NYC) this November.
Images courtesy of Shahla Karimi