It all started with Victorian lace.
Former architects Victoria Cho and Astrid Chastka (who'd worked together at the same firm) were discussing a shared desire to branch out and "start some smaller side projects" when an idea struck them. Using their considerable design savvy, the ladies decided to try "laser-cutting stainless steel into delicate Victorian lace patterns," says Cho.
If it sounds like a tricky proposition, well, it was. But the duo knew they'd found formidable partners for their shared label, Metalepsis Projects, in one another. "Victoria and I share a similar aesthetic for both architecture and jewelry," says Chastka. "We knew we could work well together."
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Which they do, even from 2,500 miles away. Cho relocated to Los Angeles while Chastka works out of a Brooklyn studio.
Unsurprisingly, the ladies continue to find inspiration in built environments, "from colonial houses around Condesa in Mexico City to vast earthworks, mines and quarries like the ones that are exquisitely documented by Edward Burtynsky," Cho explains.
For now, they've channeled their shared inspirations into one-of-a-kind bronze jewelry baubles, each different due to the unique patina that develops as the metal oxidizes. For their 2012 collection, the strong, geometric shapes—which have a rigid, almost futuristic appeal—were inspired, in part, by the work of conceptual artist Sol Lewitt.
But with their considerable skill sets, the girls aren't interested in limiting themselves to jewelry. The next ediiton comes out in September. Fashioned primarily from leather, it promises to be a different undertaking altogether. "It's not jewelry, but it's still in the accessory family," says Cho.
The ladies recently returned from an inspiration trip to Mexico City to check out Mayan ruins and mid-century architecture. "Expect some geometry, architectural references," Chastka says, "and a bit of surprise."