‘Our studio is hidden inside the city centre’
Creative director of accessories’ label The Boyscouts Zelda Beauchampet runs a tight ship tucked away in the centre of Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ own raw-edgded port-city. This town is the home of a hardworking, no-nonsense creative crowd and it seems Beauchampet has found the perfect environment to work from. Right in the middle of the bustling city centre we turn into a quiet street.
Upon entering a soutterain with the aesthetic of a former sweat-shop, we discover a treasure trove hidden in plane sight. ‘We’re undercover in a way’ remarks Zelda. The space is intimate and practical; with all requirements ready at hand. It consists of a workshop and storage space in the back and a communal desk with plants and flowers in the front. The walls surrounding us are a display for future projects interspersed with keepsakes from the past.
Zelda remarks how she’s become attached to the place, although it might in the future prove too small for her plans. ‘In the summer you can hear the live music and chatter emanating from cafés in the main street while I sit here with the windows open working on samples.’ She smiles. It’s idyllic.
On jewelry ‘It’s intimate.’
Jewelry is carried close to the body, which makes it an intimate and highly personal possession. We often don’t realise is that precisely this intimacy originates from the process of designing them after which it seeps into every aspect of the creation process. After being educated as an industrial designer, Zelda found herself gravitating towards designing small objects in general and jewelry in particular. ‘I wouldn’t be able to design a collection of furniture every season, that wouldn’t fit my way of working.’ Instead, she took classes and educated herself.
‘Jewelry is all about details.’ And that’s precisely Zelda’s strong point. She likes to oversee every small part in a whole line of production. ‘I think it’s very important to be in control of the entire process. This is why I choose not to delegate the production process to foreign countries. Each product is assembled, checked and sealed before it leaves my studio.
We try to stay in close contact with our clients, whether it concerns shops or private costumers. This precise way of working ties into the production methods of jewelry. When Zelda showed us the back of the studio we could see how she fine-tuned this process. From the assembling, welding and drying of individual pieces to the packaging and labeling, everything is done by hand to assure a high level of quality and care.
This work is never tedious. The foregoing conceptual phase of designing accessories leaves enough room for Zelda’s need for experimentation and diversity which is subsequently translated into the production phase: ‘Working with 3d-printing techniques, working by hand, casting bullion…I think accessories give excellent precedent to try out different techniques.’
On a conceptual methodology ‘In the end we make what we want to make.’
Since the beginning of our collaboration with The Boyscouts, their unique conceptual approach to design has stood out. What Zelda and her small team put out every year is more than just a jewelry or accessories’ collection. Every collection is a well rounded whole that fits into the overarching narrative of The Boyscouts. This meticulous approach sets them apart. For every collection The Boyscouts dive into the world of traditional boy scouting to distill very diverse aesthetic elements and work with them.
Inspiration has ranged from a material, such as Charchoal (2013), to a skill like hunting (to Hunt and to Hold, 2013/2014) and energy circuits (Parallel Circuit 2014-2015). Consistent in every one of them is a refined aesthetic idiom reflecting what The Boyscouts has to offer: a way to nagivate today’s urban jungle with sophistication and ease.
Echoing the aesthetic balancing act urban life increasingly demands of us, Zelda describes her way of working as a delicate balance between adhering to a conceptual framework without it becoming overbearing on the overall creative energy that drives her. ‘I won’t let myself become too restricted by the concept behind a collection.’ The concept is there to provide a structural base, but in the end it’s important she can work on what she feels is right.
She keeps her mind as open as possible. This creates a positive feedback loop between what has become her core discipline, jewelry, and an array of other interesting products and projects. It shows in the clutches, backpacks, knitwear and most recently a Matchbox jewelry case that are often developed in collaboration with creative individuals and brand labels.
It’s easy to foresee how the universe of The Boyscouts will keep expanding in upcoming years. We’re glad to have been invited into their inner circle.
Text: Suzanne Knip-Mooij
Photography: Debbie Trouerbach