Isabella Pikart loves both the urban and the natural environment. A world traveler who has lived in London, Paris, Marseille and San Paolo and often visited Italy, she has settled in Berlin, where she has launched her latest collection of porcelain jewelry, L'histoire de Mimi Cri, now available on MakeTank. We sat down to chat with her about inspirations, materials, beauty and cities.

Isabella Pikart. Photo by Jens Eisermann, 2012

The name of Isabella’s design label, Vaporetta Berlin, already hints at some of her inspirations. Vaporetta is the tug-like boat used as public transportation in Venice: “I went to Venice for Easter and stayed with a couple of friends. We went on boat to the Lido and there was a beautiful Italian lady conducting this boat. Anyway, we named her ‘Signorina Vaporetta,’ and this stuck with me; when I started my own label, I used this name as a synonym for ‘lifestyle’.” Beyond the name, Italy has influenced Isabella’s aesthetic, especially in earlier visits: “When I visited Italy (Taranto, Milano and other cities) in the late 1990s my impression of the Italian lifestyle and design was very strong, because many beautiful things did not exist in Germany yet.”

2013 | Fleur | Azulejo | Cubo | Alvorada

But she chose Berlin now for her home and the locus of her creation. Isabella explains: “It was the first place for me in Germany where I could imagine to get lost and to be respected as an individual person. I had this feeling already on my stays abroad in big metropolitan cities, but it was unknown to me in Germany. I love this city: Berlin has very many chic and international faces now, but it keeps this charm and rebellion, if you are looking for it.”

Marseille, though, is where the idea for her latest collection was born. The French name L'histoire de Mimi Cri and the concept came from observing nature, especially butterflies, while she was there. “In biology, mimicry is to pretend to be another (e.g. more dangerous) animal to be protected from being eaten. With fashion accessories we also try to change the way we look and feel, a kind of urban mimicry,” explains Isabella. “But I am also playing with words here: I may think of a fictional woman, Madame Mimi Cri… also, in French, ‘le denier cri’ in fashion is the expression for ‘a must have’.”

The collection was presented at Berlin Fashion Week showroom days in January 2012 and consists of three models: Pool Blue (azure blue), Bicho (black blue) and Ouro Branco (snow-white and partially gold-plated). Each is limited to 32 pieces and numbered by hand, and is entirely handcrafted in porcelain. To my question about how durable this technique is, Isabella explains that it is not nearly as breakable as one might think: “You use your coffee mug very normally, you don't think ‘oh, it might break and the coffee will run over the table.’ The rings are quite resistant, though of course they will break if you use a hammer!”

One of the most marvelous things about these rings is the way they feel on the skin. “If people touch the rings there are two sensations that they all notice: they are quite light (because a metal ring of this form would be much heavier, so that's what you expect when you pick it up) and they are ‘warmer’ than metal rings.” For an artist who explains that feeling is very important to the way she creates – she drops into a world of sensual, emotional perception – the unique sensation of the ring experienced by the wearer is perhaps not coincidental.

Treat yourself (or a friend) to the warm sensation of ceramic with a special, numbered creation by Isabella, available on the Vaporetta Berlin store on MakeTank.

Product photos by Julia Krüger, 2012, used by permission


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