JEWELRY MADE OF REAL CONCRETE - WE LOVE
Serbian architecture, post socialist modernism, and brutalist aesthetic have a deep cultural meaning and angsty symbolism for former Yugoslavs who grew up under the ‘third way’ Balkan Dictator Josip Broz Tito, and his post socialist successors. For a young Belgrade-born Nina Lazic and Nemanja Vuksan, even this might be a bygone period, modernist concrete architecture has more than just utopian/socialist flair. It is deeply built in their visual aesthetic, that through a long-time friendship and creative collab, evolved into a unique design vision and outstanding concrete jewelry collection called MORF. Launched in the middle of ‘covid’ pandemic and global panic, MORF'S dazzling geometric rings, earrings, pendants and chokers caught the eye of our editors, who were eager to explore what’s behind their sublime brutalist aesthetic and jittery Balkan vibe.
This Belgrade-London duo grew up in the same neighborhood in Belgrade and studied Industrial Design together, years before they started their brand. It’s quite funny that the moment that pushed them to start collab, was the moment they were the furthest away from each other – Nina moved to London to join her partner in 2016, while Nemanja was still working on his projects in Belgrade:
I guess it was a matter of what happens when you take yourself out of your comfort zone – it hits you that it's time to realize what you’d really like to do. It was like 'now or never' – and right there, MORF was born, a collaborative project, long-contemplated and materialized through contemporary fashion. Jewelry was not something we contemplated we’d do, to be honest. It just turned out to be the best medium to combine all our areas of interest – product design, architecture, storytelling and fashion. We are not jewelers by profession, but industrial designers, and that is exactly how we approached jewelry making - through the prism of industrial design and contemporary sculpture. Had we started with a background in fashion, MORF would certainly not look like this. It would probably be a little boring.
You drive your inspiration from post socialist modernism and a fascinating brutalist architecture in socialist Yugoslavia. Spomeniks play a huge role in forming your distinct alien-like aesthetic. Seems more than just aesthetic for you?
Ever since we were little, we were surrounded by modernist concrete architecture that was an integral part of our childhood. In our imagination, these spaces