d1_2Architects can be very creative and even, if they have a big dose of curiosity, become the epitome of the traveler. Daniela Iafrate's journey as a Maker started from Isola del Liri, where she was born, continued in Rome and then, one year ago, took a new turn in Milan. But Daniela - who created DarqCreations and recently joined MakeTank team - doesn't want to stop and her creations head for new destinations to uncover.

How did you start DarqCreations project?

I always liked 3D and vector graphics. When I discovered that, instead of printing my drawings on paper, I could see them "made" even in just a few samples and without investing a fortune, I decided to give a try with laser cutting. It was spring 2013. In this way I realized the infinite possibilities of laser cutting and then I started to test it with a line of jewels made in methacrylate, adding every time a new element like a new material or a new finishing.

Your first line of jewels has an arabesque style: where did you get this inspiration?

My first attempts were an ethnic line, inspired by cave art, and an arabesque line: I focused on the second one when I understood people were more interested in it. It's difficult not to be attracted by this ornamental style with intricate leaf-like motives and voluptuous lines. I like very much the concept at the base of this artistic expression: it's inspired by nature (leaves, flowers, branches) but for cultural and religious reasons is not represented in a truthful and naturalistic way, but abstract and symbolic. Everything is then transformed in ornamental motifs through repetitions and symmetries.

Which materials and technique do you use for your creations?

mix bijouxI started with plexiglas, because it's one of the best materials to work with laser cutting, and eventually discovered its qualities but also its limits. It's very interesting because it's transparent and you can bend it when it's hot, two things which give you many creative ideas and I'm trying for a line of furnishing complements.

I'm also using fiberboard (MDF), because it gives you a perfect surface to paint on. For my jewels line I start with laser-cut and laser-etched pieces which are then sandpapered, treated with a non-toxic base and painted using acrylic watercolors. The result is completely different from laser-cutted or laser-etched methacrylate.

I use brilliant colors to give warmth and "preciousness" to the surfaces, and I "light" them with little rhinestones. I think this technique gives the best results when the arabesque style is mixed with iridescent silk: here colors, brightness and decorations make you think about exotic and precious things.

Another good reason to use fiberboard is its eco-sustainability: it comes from wood residuals or production scraps and it has a low environmental impact. Also, I'm using non-toxic and water-based paints.

What makes a DarqCreations jewel unique?

For sure it's not an homologated and conformed object. It's a contemporary product, designed with ad-hoc software and made using digital techniques, but often inspired by shapes from the past and with a big handmade contribute. I like crossover. I like to mix past and present looking to the future, to complement machine's work with handmade elements. Better: to make machine's work functional to the infinite expressions of our creativity.

mensoleYou also started making furnishing complements with a new brand, DarqDesign. Where does this new line come from?

I'm an architect, after all, and of course I'm going in this direction. I hope to support myself with my little objects to make more and more demanding ones.

Is there an object you dream to make soon?

I'd like to test new techniques and I can "disclose" that I'm going to 3D-print a little project. Of course, like any designer, rather than a specific object I'm looking for an idea others haven't got yet: to fill a need nobody found a solution for, to use a material or a technique in an innovative way. To make it short, I'm inspired by doing something different from any other... Otherwise, where's the fun?

sara_1Your creations' names often recall songs or movies: Black Cat, White Cat earrings cite Emir Kusturica; Free-As-A-Bird recalls The Beatles... Whom would you choose to represent the Picasso ring or City Landcsape bangle?

Let's start from the easy one. For City Landscape I'd say Sarah Jessica Parker because she's an icon of style linked to "the" city: New York. For Picasso, which is actually a two-faced Janus-Picasso, choosing is more difficult: someone ambiguous, controversial and brilliant.. maybe Vivienne Westwood.



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