Inspired by recent travels and Turkish bathhouses, Two Hills’ latest venture ‘Soak’ is all about the little luxuries…
Triggered by her time spent in Istanbul last year, Two Hills designer Rhiannon Smith returned home dreaming of the steamy surfaces, glistening embossed metals and soap suds of the traditional Hamami.
Taking things to lusher levels, Soak features sophisticated pieces cast from sterling silver, rose & yellow gold. Studded with rose quartz, black onyx and other special semi-precious stones, the collection is a sweet scented ode to fanciful dreams of flushed cheeks, soaked skin and good clean fun.
Marking the arrival of Soak in-store we asked Rhiannon to create a special installation. Prompted by the collection and her amazing lookbook Rhiannon has created special structures for rest for her jewels to lounge on. Seriously, who knew sponges could look so good?
In anticipation we spoke to Rhiannon about the collection, travel and working with new materials. Have a read below and come have a peek at the Soak install, which runs until the 27th of April.
Can you tell us a little about your latest collection Soak?
Soak came about after a visit to a traditional Turkish bathhouse or Hamami in Istanbul last year. Everything about the experience was beautiful and fascinating to me, from the colours and textures of the building itself, to the ritual of bathing and cleansing.
The structure of the bathhouse was a major source of inspiration, a dimly lit circular room covered in black and white marble, steamy surfaces and shiny metal washbowls in copper, brass and tin. The domed roof above, a light shade of pink and glistening gold with condensation, was covered in star shaped cutouts that let shafts of light in while women sat softly laughing and chit chatting. You sit, steam, soak, scrub and get covered in suds! Afterwards you sip strong black tea and snack on Lokum or 'Turkish Delight', a sugar covered sweet tinted pink and tasting of rose water. The experience itself was extremely refreshing and cleansing, not just physically but mentally too and it left me feeling light, almost buoyant.
In the past you’ve spoken about travel influencing your collections, is this something that still informs your work?
Definitely, there’s something very special that happens when you’re travelling, I like to think of it as your eyes becoming bigger or something! I spend a lot of time when I’m at home documenting small details in everyday things, so this tendency goes into overdrive when I’m travelling. Not to mention that you don’t have all the usual distractions when you’re overseas! For me though, it’s really about exploring experience, a moment in time that made you pause and this can happen anywhere, any time.
The last few collections have seen you incorporate new materials into your work, in particular semi-precious stones, has this been a long process?
I’ve always wanted to incorporate more colour into my work, so it’s a natural progression to want to work with gemstones. However, I often find it very difficult to source the colours or textures I want from a lot of gem merchants in Australia, so I’m forced to think outside the box a little. This is probably most evident in my last collection Echo, when I couldn’t find what I wanted I had to figure out a way to make it, so I turned to ceramics. This process is a constant source of frustration, spending hours trawling through annoying websites only to come up empty handed but it does push me to think more creatively which is something I appreciate. When I’m designing I’m very careful to make sure I never let pre-existing materials or components dictate my path.
Can you tell us a bit about your installation in-store? (We love the sponge’s p.s!)
I had so much fun working on the look book and playing with all these colourful sponges I just had to use them again! Keeping the architecture of the bathhouse in mind, I decided to create a group of little structures out of the sponges. My hope is that, like the hamami, they act as little rest areas for the collection. Plus it gave me an excuse to hang out in Daiso for an hour which is always fun, let’s face it!