Erdem Akan, one of the creative figures in the design world, presents us with a unique jewelry collection inspired by nature that he has realised in collaboration with Rúnda Jewelry. The original and elegant lines of Rúnda Jewelry merge with Erdem Akan’s inspiration from nature, transforming the magic of nature to the jewelry pieces. With this interview, you will explore Akan’s creative process and discover how the flawless beauty of nature is reflected in the jewelry, as well as the remarkable creations of the Erdem Akan X Rúnda design.

Who is Erdem Akan?

If I were to introduce myself based on my accomplishments, I can briefly say that I am a designer, design manager, curator, educator, and entrepreneur. Despite receiving an education in mechanical engineering, product design, and design management, I believe I have mostly self-educated myself. I enjoy blending different cultures, balancing contrasts, and utilizing various disciplines in the creative process. In this regard, I am similar to İstanbul, the city where I was born and raised.

You showcase your design vision with the Erdem Akan x Rúnda ‘Into the Woods’ collection, which is the first designer collaboration in the brand’s history. Could you explain how this collaboration came about? In the ‘Into The Woods’ collection, how was Erdem Akan influenced by Rúnda Jewelry’s sustainability philosophy?

Rúnda Jewelry is a young brand with a strong and established manufacturing power, sharing many common values such as environmental consciousness. With the advantage of youth, they are also open to innovations. I believe this vision led Rúnda Jewelry to seek a collaboration that goes beyond conventional patterns in jewelry design. As a designer who has created works and collections in different scales and disciplines, our paths crossed. From the very beginning, I wanted the collection we prepared to reference sustainability and nature, in line with Rúnda Jewelry’s brand philosophy and journey. Research and focus have been directed towards this goal.

As a designer who finds inspiration in forest trips and nature, what kind of journey did you embark on during this process?

For all of us, the energy and intensity of city life can be both appealing and exhausting. Personally, whenever I have the opportunity, I try to escape the city on weekends to find my balance and inner peace. One of these escapes is going for walks in the forest. Forest hikes, for me, are undoubtedly a rich realm of exploration. Beyond colors, the shapes and textures in nature have always captivated my attention. While preparing the collection, the idea of bringing these forms and textures closer to the human body intrigued me. In this way, I wanted to establish a renewed connection between nature and humans, particularly urban dwellers. This underlying concept shaped the collection and its details throughout the process.

What is your greatest achievement in your career? What are the biggest challenges you have faced while working on a specific project or collection, and how do you overcome them?

The greatest achievement in my 25- year career is having accumulated experience and knowledge in various scales and disciplines. As a designer, I believe this is a great richness when it comes to generating new ideas. New ideas often face resistance, whether from stakeholders, colleagues, clients, or potential users. To overcome these resistances, you need to persuade and convince others. The transition from the objective domain to the subjective domain, I believe, is the most challenging part of design projects. I try to make this part more enjoyable for myself by approaching it as an empathy-centered learning process rather than engaging in conflicts. This approach I have found in recent years has made it easier for me to overcome this difficulty.