The Golden Artist
Saskia Diez has been a major force in the German fashion and creative scene for a long time. During a taxi ride through Munich, the designer talks about her inspiration, the meaning of design in everyday life, and the immortality of jewellery.
Following her A levels, Saskia Diez spent nearly a year in Paris before returning to Germany and starting a goldsmith apprenticeship. Later, she studied industrial design and laid the foundation for her career with renowned designers and companies like Christian Haas, Konstantin Grcic, Rosenthal, and Authentics. In 2009, she opened her own workshop in Munich's Glockenbach neighbourhood. That is where her inimitable pieces of jewellery have been created ever since: minimalistic, yet feminine – just like she likes to wear them herself.
She’s Mercedes: You are not only a jewellery designer, but also a business woman with employees, and a mother of three children. How do you manage to combine your personal and professional lives?
When working creatively, you can't and won't always draw a line between work and personal life. Because, what is work and what isn't, when you are in it with so much passion? A creative process can’t just be switched on and off. Of course, when you run a company, you do have a big weight on your shoulders: you are responsible for your employees and have to make lots of decisions. I think the best you can do to make this division secondary, is to try to be happy and be yourself.
You also design engagement and wedding rings. What does it feel like to design pieces of jewellery that mean so much to your customers?
Jewellery is a very intimate matter. Every piece of jewellery you wear has its own story. You usually wear it on your skin over a long period of time. And even if you don’t wear it as often, or not at all: you would never throw away a piece of jewellery, because it’s usually so closely connected to you that you want to keep it. That is something I love about my work: feeling connected with people through emotional and moving moments. This naturally and most specifically applies to wedding rings.
We live with lots of prototypes in a kind of makeshift arrangement that is constantly changing.
You are married to Stefan Diez, who is one of the most famous German designers. What role does work play in your relationship and your everyday life?
Naturally, our work plays a very important role in everything we do. It’s not just a job, neither for Stefan nor for me – it’s a part of us: there is a great deal of ourselves in it. With us, perhaps much more is in flux than is the case elsewhere. For instance, when you look at where we live, you’ll notice that it’s not so much a permanent state, but something that is continuously shifting. We live with lots of prototypes in a kind of makeshift arrangement that is constantly changing. All depending on what Stefan is currently working on with his office, and depending on how we need it to be at any given time.
You have three children together. How does the fact that both parents are designers affect them?
I would tend to say that design is just a natural part of it. Not so much something we assign a role to or something we particularly emphasise. If you look at the children’s rooms, they are certainly not 'designer rooms'. At the same time, it’s only natural for lots of prototypes from Stefan's office to also be found there. Selma, Helena, and Nikolaus are currently at an age where what we do seems like the greatest thing to them. We'll see what happens when that changes, but so far I would say: they come into contact with lots of things that expand their world. They have access to the workshop, to the studio. They come into contact with employees from various countries, they experience what it means to imagine things and then turn them into reality.
Stefan drove one of those cars when I first met him. It had a lowered body, and the back windows were dark-tinted – actually a bit ‘no-go’, really.
You mentioned that you used to drive a Mercedes-Benz W126 – designed by the chief designer at the time, Bruno Sacco. What makes a good vehicle design as far as you are concerned?
Stefan drove one of those cars when I first met him. It had a lowered body, and the back windows were dark-tinted – actually a bit “no-go”, really (laughs). But whenever I climbed in, the suspension was so soft that I felt like I was on a ship. At that time, Stefan was working for Rosenthal a lot, and I with him – on my own projects and also on his. On the journey there, or on the way to the show in Milan, we spent many hours in his car. I liked the straight lines on the exterior and on the inside, and the reduced cockpit without all those fussy features. And although the car hasn't been produced for more than ten years by now, it was never a problem to get spare parts, because it was such a popular model. Practically indestructible.
You have already achieved a great deal as a designer. Is there a dream you definitely want to come true, something you really want to create?
Oh, there are lots of things. Smaller and bigger things. But I am a little superstitious when it comes to talking about things that haven't yet happened.