David Farrugia, the mastermind behind luxury jewelry brand Uniform Object, operates with a very singular vision. Known for its emphasis on process and stimulation, Uniform Object sees Farrugia utilizing his appreciation for artisanal practices and natural phenomena to build collections that are unmistakably his own. He prefers to keep his circle tight, only allowing input from a tight circle of trusted muses while he works on each collection, the latest of which is titled Supernova.
Farrugia began work on the collection in 2021, drawing inspiration from astronomical explosions – supernovas – that bring about the formation of galaxies. The designer sat down with us to talk about the collection, why designing truly unique jewelry is no small task, and why he remains involved in every step of the process. Read our interview with David Farrugia below.
Tell us about what you did prior to being a jewelry designer?
I have been an artist/product designer. My creative agency, SANITARIUM, has consulted and produced a variety of consumer goods.
What was your path to founding Uniform Object?
I was fed up with making things that were ephemeral. I wanted to make something precious that would last for generations. Fine jewelry is the ultimate product that uses the rarest materials found on earth and crafted by old master artisans. I was searching for something fulfilling and found it in fine jewelry.
You’ve previously called jewelry “the ultimate form of product design.” Why is that?
Artisanal craft is a dying art form. Most products (and sometimes even jewelry) have been made by machine. There is a certain soulfulness to something handmade and that cannot be mass-produced. With my pieces that is impossible, as every stone is one of a kind.
Can you describe how Uniform Object designs bring timelessness together with the brand’s more modern, avant-garde edge? What is your vision for the brand and audience?
The vision is my taste and product that I wanted to see. I admire brands Ann D[emeulemeester], Rick Owens, and Yohji [Yamamoto], but I also can appreciate the heritage and steadfastness of Prada. Making “edgy and provocative” things is easy. It’s much more difficult to make something that is unique or “avant-garde” while still capturing the essence of elegance and timelessness. Rick Owens is a master of this – although he does like to take risks, and perhaps not all his pieces are timeless, he seamlessly weaves glamour and grunge.
In your own words, what is the significance of only designing with natural gemstones and diamonds? Where do you source your gems? What qualities do you look for?
I personally handpick every gem that goes into a Uniform Object piece. I normally sit with the stones for about a week before deciding to move forward with it. For diamonds I look for character; I love to use antique, old mine-cut diamonds – their chunky facets are a window into the romantic past of old-world stone cutting. For colored stones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, I look for the juiciest and brightest colors I can find. I think this combination is what makes our jewelry look so contemporary, yet have an air of heritage.
Your latest collection is called Supernova. Can you elaborate on the concept behind it?
Supernova is the explosion event of galaxy formation. We are creating our little galaxy through explosive color and big rocks! With all of our collections, we have had this through line of space and time exploration. Supernaut was the first exploration. Anachrome was the wormhole of time merging past and present, and Supernova was the big bang start to something new.
Is there a Supernova piece that you feel is the collection’s signature design?
Our biggest piece, which has since found a loving home, was the Champagne Supernova – a play on the Oasis song. We used almost eight carats of champagne diamonds to create a masterpiece.
Uniform Object places a heavy emphasis on process. What are some of the most important elements of the design process to you?
I like to work in a vacuum. I don’t want too much outside inspiration. As an artist, I want my designs not to be pegged to something else in the ether. I’ll sketch 10–20 designs, and then I will review them with some trusted “muses.” This will give some real-world applications. We tend to whiddle down to about two concepts from 20.
What inspires you when you’re working on a new collection?
Every time we sell out of our current collection, I am taken aback. This is exciting and daunting at the same time. I haven’t had too much time to reflect on what inspires me, so I’m basically working on instinct.
Do you bring any elements from your personal style to your designs?
Yes, this collection is 100% for myself, by myself. This was my big breakthrough in product design; I had always been designing for someone else and never for myself.
Beyond the pieces themselves, you’re also very intentional with the presentation, from digital content to packaging. What is the significance of presentation to the message you want to communicate as a designer?
We are creating an aesthetic universe, and in this universe exist tactile things that need to make sense. We even go beyond the visual and have created sounds and scents that also resonate with the Uniform Object ethos.
Uniform Object has been worn by Bella Hadid, Megan Thee Stallion, Chlöe Bailey, and other A-listers. Is there anyone you’d love to see wearing a Uniform Object piece in the future?
We are so fortunate that so many influential and celebrated people have picked up the collection. There are two people in particular that are super far apart on the spectrum of the audience, but I think is perfectly fitting for UO: Ozzy Osbourne and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Where can fans of the collection purchase one of your designs?
Most of our pieces are available in retail and sometimes in our online store.
HIRSHLEIFERS – NY
ELYSE WALKER – LA
ETC – Aspen, CO and Birmingham, AL
ELI – Mill Valley, CA
For more from David and Uniform Object, follow them on Instagram: David Farrugia | Uniform Object