Simone Somekh for The Jerusalem Post
Aficionados of Jerusalem’s Old City will now be able to wear a perfectly scaled map of the UNESCO World Heritage Site on their finger. It’s the concept of a newly launched architecture-inspired series of rings called Invisible Cities.
Each piece of jewelry depicts the urban landscape of a different city. In addition to Jerusalem, there are rings for Berlin and Istanbul.
The project was conceived by Jason Kipp, 28, a Minnesota-born designer living in Israel since 2010, when he came on a scholarship offered by Milwaukee-based Rabbi Daniel Meister, who is in charge of the Wisconsin city’s Jewish student organization, co-founded by Kipp. Meister wanted Kipp to learn Torah and persuaded him to spend one year in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. Once there, Kipp decided to stay.
After serving in an IDF foreign relations unit, Kipp became interested in computer graphics and 3D modeling. He had a few sketches he wanted to bring to life, so he bluffed his way past the guards of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan. A casual tour of the college – aimed at asking the students to print the designs for him – resulted in his enrollment in a master’s degree program in design.
Today, Kipp is launching his own jewelry company through a series of 3D rings called Invisible Cities, which are available on Facebook and Etsy.
“I have always felt the need to be stimulated in all sorts of ways at the same time, by painting, studying business or learning Torah,” says Kipp. “I studied architecture back home in Minnesota. When I walk through the streets of a city, I am inspired by the textures of the buildings, the colors of the landscapes, the skyline. So I decided to incorporate this passion into my jewelry production.”
The idea of Invisible Cities started during a Shenkar school trip to Berlin in 2014. Shenkar had requested that the students present a project related to the city.
“The monuments, the courtyard buildings and, of course, the Holocaust Memorial – everything in the German capital seemed to take me back to the idea of the square,” Kipp recounts.
Once back in Israel, dreaming of a Berlin ring at night, designing it on his computer during the day and subsequently producing it with a 3D printer, Kipp first experienced the struggle of making industrial productions meaningful. While a handmade object intrinsically contains the work and passion of its creator, a machine-generated ring is less likely to feature that quality.
When he presented the first draft of his Invisible Cities project to his Shenkar instructors and classmates – a large, colorful bracelet – Kipp smashed it to the ground in front of an astonished audience. Suddenly, an object created with a 3D printer had a story: It was imbued with the audience’s surprised emotions.
Next in line are Safed and Chicago. He visited Safed when it was snowing and remained deeply inspired by the ambience; Chicago is his favorite American city. Furthermore, he had run into an acquaintance, who asked him to produce a Chicago ring as a gift for his wife.
“I walk through the streets of the cities and ask myself, ‘Is it quiet or is it loud? How can I convey this feeling through my design?’ Sometimes I dream of creating a Venice ring, and I spend hours of the night awake, thinking of how to represent the water on the ring,” he says.
The designer now dreams of having his own franchise, with a section for each continent.
“Every ring will take you on a journey to places you’ve already been to and places you haven’t visited yet,” says Kipp.
The original version of this story was published in The Jerusalem Post on September, the 4th, 2015.