Eclectic and refined. These are the two words local jewellery designer, Hamish Munro would use to describe his brand’s aesthetic.
Walking into Hamish Munro on Cambridge Street in Collingwood is like stepping into the past. The space has stunning 5-meter-high ceilings, original windows and doors, and is flooded with natural light, emitting a sense of peace and calm – much like Munro himself.
By restoring the authentic details of the showroom, Munro was able to get a sense of time and age of the surrounding space. Munro worked on the space himself and took his time.
“I felt that if I didn’t spend time working on the details that I wasn’t going to achieve an honest and calm space which reflects my work,” he explains.
Just like his jewellery, Munro handcrafted the display cabinets using classical timber mouldings using the utmost care and attention to detail. These small touches, along with the preservation and embracing of some of the older features of the building add to the quaint and authentic feel of the showroom.
Munro graduated Fine Art Sculpture from VCA in 2009 where he had kept his experimentation with jewellery entirely separate from his installation pieces. It was after opening his own studio in 2010 that he begun incorporating his love of jewellery with his installation work.
“Combining the two has stretched my approach to create small but significant objects with the purpose of being worn and enjoyed,” he says.
Although previously being a way for Munro to explore various techniques, themes and materials, receiving jewellery orders from Alphaville and Order and Progress in 2007 propelled Munro to design and create unique pieces for these eager boutiques.
“Engaging with these two retailers and having the opportunity to have conversations with stores that had inspired me as a customer is what drove me to continually design new work,” says Munro.
These days however, it’s not just all about the jewellery. Munro typically spends his days in his studio where he works full time on various creations including his jewellery collection, commissioned pieces and a mix of installation projects. His inspirations are collaborations, which are diverse and include sculptural pieces, interior spaces or even shop fittings.
Munro claims that although he spends his days in his studio, he finds it hard to switch his mind off from thinking about techniques, ideas or processes he is exploring. Letting his mind wander, however, is all part of his process.
“This unknown is what keeps me interested and keeps my work constantly evolving, and you can often see these discoveries in stages if you look back through my work,” he explains.
Incorporating the use of a computer in his practice has opened up many new doors for Munro’s processes.
“Experimenting in this format has opened up a huge amount of new possibilities for me – obscure compositions, textures, precise angles have generally challenged the way I think about the jewellery I want to create,” says Munro. Although stretching and manipulating his sketches using computer programs, Munro says he is very wary of not allowing the computer control his designs.
Munro’s latest collection, Orders, is inspired by the forms, embellishments and language that is found within classical western architecture. Having lived in Paris in 2015, Munro claims it was there he discovered a love and true appreciation for architecture and often felt overwhelmed when trying to comprehend how and when the buildings surrounding him were built.
“I knew while I was living there that my surroundings would eventually come through in my work, but it wasn’t until I moved back to Melbourne I begun to reflect on the complexities of classical architecture,” says Munro.
Upon his reflection he again considered the construction of the architecture, which led him to deconstructing the forms, and eventually reinterpreting them in his jewellery designs.
With so much more beckoning to be explored, and with his collection Orders up to its third release, Munro is uncertain where his collection will evolve to next.
“I now understand how the architects of the past had trouble knowing when to stop designing,” he adds.
Looking forward, Munro is excited for the future. He’s working on new collaborations and taking on a more deliberate approach to his jewellery making practice. Most of all, Munro is excited to see how the space around him will continue to inspire his collections and how he will interpret his contexts into physical forms.
“I have never trained as a fine jeweller so it is often the simple discovery of new techniques and technologies that inspire me and push my work.”
If you are in the area, check out Munro’s latest works at the Hamish Munro showroom, 38 Cambridge Street, Collingwood.
Monday to Friday (appointment only)
Friday and Saturday 12pm-5pm
All images courtesy of Hamish Munro