ooOoooOoooOh la l’ice is a solid silver ice-cube necklace imagined and developed by art jeweler Laila El Mehelmy and GOLEM architecture, art and design studio led by Ariel Claudet
The idea came to the designers during a hot 24 hour party in Club Der Visionaere, Berlin.
In a survival move to overcome the crushing heat of one of the hottest summers Germany has ever experienced, partygoers started to grab ice cubes from the freezers and rub each other with it. In the midst of this dance and sweat orgy, the two designer’s hearts were balancing between enjoying the pleasures of it all or breaking down saddened by this post-apocalyptic scene.
On the next day, in the course of a conversation about this unique experience, something struck the designers: at a time water sources are being privatized and water scarcity is striking all countries across the globe, water is turning from an overlooked commodity into one of the most sought after luxury goods.
SOLID WATER GEMS
Diamonds became a global object of desire only in the last century. After finding diamonds on their land, in 1871 the De Beers brothers - two Dutch settlers in South Africa - dug the first large scale diamond mine in the world. This first development marked the beginning of the brothers' eponymous company's fortune.
However, the so-called "precious stones” are likely the most common gems in nature. The De Beers corporation managed to fabricate diamonds' high price and created the general public's craving for diamonds through aggressive advertising campaigns conveyed by the still famous slogan "diamonds are forever". This managed to convince young fiancés across the globe that engagement rings must always bear a diamond. By controlling roughly 85% of the diamonds supply, they made sure to always release less gems than the market's demand (In 2004, De Beers agreed to plead guilty to criminal price fixing before a U.S. federal court). The fight for the diamond market monopoly allegedly lead to forced labor, large scale corruption, underdevelpment, murders and environmental disasters.
"Diamonds are forever", that is exactly why their rock solid market value becomes obsolete. Now that water, the most essential substance of all, is the most coveted rough material, diamonds are nothing else than glorified pieces of transparent rocks cut in all sorts of weird shapes.
ooOoooOoooOh la l’ice comes with a custom-made silicone tray allowing its owner to freeze it on demand.
When not iced, oooOoooOoooh la l’ice can be worn as a silver beaded necklace, or doubled as a choker.
When taken out of the freezer and pulled out of its tray to be worn, ooOoooOoooOh la l’ice adorns the neck of its bearer with seven ice cubes linked by solid-silver beads. Heat passing through the wearers’ skin turns these solid water stones back to their liquid state, drips down their body and finally evaporates back up in the air to restart another water cycle.
It takes about 30 minutes for the solid water gems to turn back to their liquid state on the warm bare skin of a partygoer or roughly an hour when worn on top of a piece of garment.
This process induced by the heat from the wearer's body reflects the human impact on natural cycles. It shows how humankind acts as a catalyst to natural processes and dangerously accelerates global warming and desertification.
The alarming course of development of our actions might be too late to stop but is not too late to slow down. By the ideas it carries and the stones it doesn't bear oOoooOoooOh la l'ice disseminates a new gaze on the values of time, preciousness and scarcity.
ooOoooOoooOh la l’ice is a time-piece. The choreography of a dancing body wearing it while the precious solid water stones melt away makes it an event. When worn as a simple solid silver necklace, the larger beads mark where a water gem once stood and where a new one will soon solidify.
This piece is the materialization of the evanescence of our most essential element. Its beauty results from its temporality.