Kyoto Tango’s exclusive edition of colour-blocked resin bracelets for HAY fuses muted and strong tones to create a unique and versatile accessory. Designed and produced in Denmark, the bracelets are available in five different colour combinations that can be worn individually or stacked beautifully together.
We chatted with the designer about our collaboration, design process, and how she finds inspiration for her work.
How did the collaboration with HAY come about?
Ann Sophie von Bülow: Mette Hay has been following the Kyoto Tango journey from the very beginning. She is very attentive to what is going on in our times, and she keeps her antenna high. In our meetings, I think we as women have been mirroring each other. I admire Mette for her ability to make HAY attract a great deal of diverse attention through her selections. We have had parallel conversations about how Kyoto Tango and HAY could pollinate each other. These conversations made me consider what Kyoto Tango really is, as well as what HAY stands for and what a collaborative edition would look like.
What was the color-selection process like for the HAY bracelets? How was it different than the process when you made color choices for your bracelets previously?
Ann Sophie von Bülow: I usually have a tight concept that determines the colors for each edition. For the HAY edition, I went in search of what can be described as the DNA of Kyoto Tango. I traveled back to my impressions of the tasteful, beautiful aesthetic present in daily life in Japan, and to Africa's sense of color and surprising combinations. The color wildness that I made in my very first bracelets was a match for the clarity of the HAY universe.
Can you tell us a bit about the material you choose?
Ann Sophie von Bülow: Kyoto Tango is clearly about colors and the refinement of color combinations made into a piece of jewelry. The material I have chosen is one that gets you closest to the idea of a “pure” color - color as an object. Imagine a highway. Then imagine the same highway on a rainy day … the water on the pavement brings out the saturation and density of that very same material, illuminating its colors. For me, this material works in the same way, like a glossy sheen that is enhances each color.
How would you say these bracelets for HAY are in sync with your design practice on a larger level?
Ann Sophie von Bülow: Something I’m really proud of is the general appeal the bracelets have. Across cultures and generations, you find women wearing them. Kyoto Tango can be worn at any occasion or in any context - the opera, the beach, the grocery store … It is versatile, fun and refined at the same time, all of which are qualities that I find very much in sync with HAY. You already find Kyoto Tango and HAY products side-by-side at trend setting stores such as the MoMA Design Store in New York and Holly Golightly in Copenhagen. Our collaboration is just a natural extension of this.
What are your influences when it comes to your designs?
Ann Sophie von Bülow: Whatever catches the eye. It could be a cheap souvenir, some wild roadside plants, a piece of sun-bleached fabric — anything really can be a starting point for me. The real task is to concept and contextualize this into a design. I think of influences as something that needs to be fermented and distilled to abstraction, and transformed from its origin.
KYOTO TANGO has established a unique piece of jewellery that is catchy and playful, yet possesses integrity too. Behind the brand stands visual artist Ann Sophie von Bülow. Using her innate sense of colour and composition, she has created the artistic KYOTO TANGO universe. Ann Sophie von Bülow (b. 1987) received an MFA from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark, in 2016. She works as an artist with photography, installation and contextual practice. Her work takes an anthropological approach to explore themes such as transcendence, autonomy and intangible values within a socially based practice. Von Bülow is also the founder of Det Kosmiske Hierarki (The Cosmic Hierarchy), which in the last year has manifested itself in a series of exhibitions and activities in Freetown Christiania.