Making of the VL Collection: Journeying Through Andalucia and Beyond
"There are so many crevices and secrets...it's interesting to go and find little remnants of the past."....but I hadn't figured out how to do it elegantly.
When preparing to design a new collection of modern heirlooms, A+T’s in-house designer knew she wanted to take a trip that would inspire, challenge, and center her work. So while Andalucia is best known for flamenco, bullfighting, and tapas, Viviana Langhoff started a multiple-week inspiration tour there for another reason: family history. Originally from Puerto Rico, A+T’s in-house designer’s family has roots in southern Spain, and so she found it to be a perfect destination for inspiration when designing a collection of modern, detailed heirlooms.
Keeping heritage and heirloom center of mind, Viviana voyaged to Portugal, where all her senses were stimulated, especially through food! Portugal has been a hot travel destination for the past couple of years specifically for their gastronomic feats, boasting Michelin restaurants and fresh local fare, and Viviana indulged in all of the amazing treats the country had to offer. More specifically, pastéis de nata ....as often as possible. The crispy and creamy egg custard tart was a true favorite, as well as lunch and dinner pulled fresh from the nearby sea. Handmade tiles outfitted buildings from floor to ceiling, covering internal walls and outdoor facades, gorgeous flooring in even the most unexpected rooms—all elaborately painted. Portugal exists in a magical balance of being both rustic and approachable, while still holding historic grandeur and opulence.
After Portugal, Viviana traveled to Morocco on the path of the former Moorish conquests, and again found seemingly inexhaustible inspiration. Ceramic servingware in small family restaurants, hand-hewn chairs, detailed metalwork on fencing and grates, the blue that led Yves St Laurent to make Marrakech his home. Wafting scents of spices seemed to create a path from stall to stall in the markets, leading from shimmering lanterns to carpets to teas arranged in colorful vats.
Upon her return stateside, the collection took form. Repeating patterns and metalwork found their way into 14k yellow and white gold bands; the colors of buildings, market spices, and lanterns evolved into sapphires, citrines, garnets; the lights of each city sparkled through diamonds. Viviana set out to explore the idea of heirloom and inherited beauty, and this trip provided inspiration and more. Each ring holds close centuries of culture and history, but when filtered through a new lens, is thoroughly made for the modern woman.