We have had a lot of questions regarding our design process and what is the relationship between architecture and jewelry. So to best explain this we need to give a bit of background on how we started. Both Hiroko and I have backgrounds in architecture and work for a small architecture boutique called Nick Milkovich Architects. As of now (2016) I have worked with Nick for the past 11 years, and Hiroko 12. At one point we also worked with Arthur Erickson. Nick worked with Arthur until 1991, and in 1993, Arthur joined Nick as a design consultant until his passing in 2009.
Catton Residence, West Vancouver, 1967 by Arthur Erickson (First Project Nick Milkovich worked on)
2009 was also the year that we started hk+np studio. By the end of 2008 it was apparent that 2009 would be a difficult year for NMA. The housing market crash in the US at the end of 2008 caused project stoppages on a number of residential housing projects we were working on. Because of this, both Hiroko and I were reduced to part time in what was called a work share program initiated by the Government of Canada to help business who were suffering from the downturn.
Eau Claire, Calgary, 2008 by Nick Milkovich + Busby, Perkins, & Will. Canceled in 2009.
Rewind 8 years earlier to Tokyo, Japan, where Hiroko was studying architecture at Nihon University. At the time, her friend was studying to become a silver smith, but needed opportunities to hone her craft. She asked Hiroko to design some jewelry for her so that she could practice casting. Hiroko designed a ring - still one of a kind, and one she always wears which her friend made for her. That experience would make a lasting impression on her.
It was February 2008, my birthday rolled around! Much to my surprise, Hiroko teamed up with her friend again to make me a pair of cufflinks for my birthday. These would later become our Q series Cufflinks! Towards the end of 2008, with our architectural work occupying us only part time, we decided to try to turn Hiroko's jewelry design hobby into a small business. Part 2: Searching for a Casting Studio
Q Series Cufflinks
Neil Prakash, Architect AIBC