Belgian-born jewellery designer Sophie-Birgitt Debuf (below) talks about her geometry-inspired designs and why Hong Kong is a great place in which to start a business.
What differentiates you from other jewellery designers? "The signature for my debut collection is geometry. All my pieces are abstract and sculptural. There are no round or organic forms in this collection and I have yet to come across a brand that has dared to do that."
What inspires your designs? "In this period of my life I have an intrinsic need to be surrounded by clean, straight lines, patterns and geometry. Whether it is jewellery, interior design or fashion, I love for things to be stripped back, where anything unnecessary goes. But that being said, simple, minimalist design is the most complicated, as every detail emerges that much more. That's why Hong Kong's different skylines have been a great mood board. I am infatuated by the shape and patterns of architecture here. So much is going on up in the sky, and because of the city's fast pace I feel most people forget to look up."
Having lived in Europe, Vietnam and now Hong Kong, what is your favourite location? "That's a tough question, as I love travelling and discovering new places. Currently, I am enjoying rediscovering my European roots, having spent so much time in Asia. During the summer there really is no place that beats the Mediterranean. The quality of the food, the incredible colours, the rich diversity of ancient European cultures, the laid-back atmosphere … You can literally just island hop. My ultimate summer destination is Corsica."
How is it working in Hong Kong as an independent jewellery designer? "This city really is one of the world's most straightforward hubs for jewellery manufacturing and trading. I encountered all the right people to work with at the right time. I found a studio [and] I spent long hours behind the bench before launching my Angles collection. Hong Kong has been the springboard for the brand."
Who is your typical client? "I am creating for the contemporary independent woman. She is cultivated, sensual, a free spirit and in search of luxurious, unique, audacious pieces of jewellery. These are the women of Hong Kong. Nevertheless, I am exploring new destinations, such as London, Paris and New York."
What do you never leave the house without? "I feel naked without my rings. Wherever I go I always have my double reflection ring on. Other essentials are my Avene cold cream lip balm and Guerlain bronzing powder; a healthy glow goes a long way … And it goes without saying that I never leave the house without my phone, unfortunately."