Eclectic human and all-round creative force, Kiala Kanzi shares some of the background and inspirations behind her jewelry brand. We take a brief dive into this goldsmith's ever-expanding cosmos, tapping into human connection, growth, collaboration and the symbolism she finds behind her brand's logo, a spiral.
Kiala Kanzi is, as she would say herself, an eclectic human. She engages in diverse artistic practices and has a lot of different interests, having found in jewellery her preferred mean of expression. The malleability of metal appealed to her, as it allows her to play and leaves room for improvisation; two things that are also important and present in Kiala’s day to day existence.
There’s a certain warmth about her jewellery and the visuals she creates around it that draws you in, vibes that are also emanating from the goldsmith herself. Her positive energy, curiosity and lust for life trespasses the screen of our video call Barcelona-Berlin. A German-born citizen of the world, Kiala has chosen to set base-camp in Barcelona, and responds to my call from a house she is temporarily staying in to take care of it and its inhabiting cat. She is all about freedom, space for growth and improvisation, and during our conversation she shared some of the core concepts, ideas and inspirations that surround her ever-expanding cosmos and homonym brand.
“I would find anything and hang it from my ears. Back then I didn’t even have ear holes so I had to modify any earring that I liked so that I could clip it in instead, you know? And I loved it. That was my thing.
As her first distinct memories of jewellery she recalls her visits to her grandma’s house as a little girl, and how much she enjoyed playing dress-up with her clothes and all her jewellery. “That was, (besides the amazing food, obviously!) always a highlight of those visits. I also remember sitting down with her and her taking things out of her jewellery box and explaining the stories of each piece; who it belonged to, where she bought it… and I found it fascinating. Besides, I’ve just always been into little things” she says. “I would find anything and hang it from my ears. Back then I didn’t even have ear holes so I had to modify any earring that I liked so that I could clip it in instead, you know? And I loved it. That was my thing.”
Human connection is everything, and Kiala seems to understand that at a deep level. “People totally make the place” she says, when talking about her experience of Barcelona and the different places she has lived in or visited. That is also a big aspect to her practice, as she thrives on collaboration, “collaborating with stylists and other artists allows me to create more crazy pieces, I love working with the body, making headpieces, etc. Thinking how each crazy idea could work... it’s a bit more brainy and I really enjoy it. Pushing the limits of what jewellery and metal can be.” Her latest collaboration, which just released, is with Berlin-based artist Isakov; a limited collection of 20 intricate pieces that combine the artist’s designs with Kiala’s detailed and masterful craft. This human aspect is also very engraved in another of her lines of work, which consists of taking in client requests and materializing their desires. She explains how often beautiful and intimate moments arise when the clients see their new pieces, some being even moved to tears. “Moments like that make it all worth it”.
photo by Eileen Jordan,
photo by Alexandra Cepeda,
photo by Ana Sting,
photo by Alexandra Cepeda,
The third line of her work as a jeweller is centred around playing with the symbol of the spiral, which Kiala finds a lot of meaning to. “Man, the spiral is everything! My obsession with it first started in Barcelona actually, when I was looking to get a tattoo but I wasn’t sure of what. Then I found the Buddhist symbol of life, which contains this spiral; I thought it was so beautiful, so I got it done. I really like this idea of life as a spiral, of you going back through the same point many times but always with more knowledge, a different perspective. And I think it’s the same for the brand, so I adopted that as the logo. I don’t know, ever since getting the tattoo I’ve kept seeing spirals everywhere and connecting a lot to the symbol. See, there’s even one on my shirt right now!” She says, pointing at her shirt and laughing.
“The image of ourselves is never steady but instead, a fluctuating movement that lets us grow eternally"
When asked about the future, she smiles to herself and says “well, for the next month I’ll be looking out for this cat! And I’m also starting to look at finding a permanent residence in Barcelona. And for the brand, I want to take it to the next level. I want to work on the website and on promoting it through advertisement, collaborations with influencers and all that. Until now, it’s all been pretty organic but I’m craving the next step. And I feel like Barcelona is the ideal place to do this, as I’ve built a good network here. I think it will be good for the brand that I settle, it will allow for it to grow more and for things to happen that were impossible when I was being more nomadic”. Her latest capsule collection is called “Forever Untitled”, and she views it as a showcase of her current pieces, a little cosmos of her creations. But just as in the cosmos sometimes some stars go out, also in these collections some pieces might come and go, something might be added or modified. “The image of ourselves is never steady but instead, a fluctuating movement that lets us grow eternally" is a quote one can find in Kiala Kanzi’s website, which beautifully sums up her brand’s philosophy.
photo by @joannalegid
Text by Laura Cabiscol