Peter Schmid of Atelier Zobel creates flamboyant, dramatic precious jewelry that combines wearable forms with a theatrical, larger-than-life esthetic. This effect is created in part by the exaggerated three-dimensionality of the many of the designs; like all out of scale forms, it demands that we re-evaluate the form itself and its function. Certainly, one function is as pure sculpture, in which the scale is crucial to the viewer; another is theatricality and the attention brought to the wearer. In all of this play of scale and size, there is a great sense of fun: an enjoyment of color and patterns for its own sake and a true pleasure in jewelry as ornament.
To create the variety of patterns, textures and colors in the work, Atelier Zobel resorts to a wide variety of technique and materials. The patterned gold surfaces are 24K fused on 18K gold. Often, sterling silver surfaces are patterned with 24K gold or platinum fused on the oxidized sterling, to create and effect of charcoal-on-paper. Or 21K rose gold is patterned with platinum and pure gold. Schmid notes that ‘materials that emerge from nature are the base of our work, however cities are my points of energy and stimulation. The city beat that is exepmplified in art, music, architecture, the intersections between man, creativity and nature provide the foundation for my design ideas’.
Gemstones are always unusual or unusually cut, against traditional expectations: oversize cabochon quartz domes, raw diamonds and transparent squares of amethyst or beryl are just a sampling of the studio’s choices.
Michael Zobel founded the company in 1970, exhibiting his work throughout Europe and the United States; his design partner Peter Schmid, who now heads the Atelier, studied goldsmithing at the School for Design and Jewelry in Schwabisch-Gmund, Germany, and then apprenticed to Michael Zobel. Both designers are the recipients over the years of numerous design awards, competitions and museum collections, including the Museum of Art & Design and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.