Envision a dining table base that resembles twisting, gilded rosebud vines or a cast-brass floor lamp that takes its shape from tropical banana leaves. Such foliage becomes fodder for the imaginative designs at Portuguese furnishings brand Ginger & Jagger. “When we look at organic forms in the world, the delicacy of nature, as well as its innate rawness, it really is pure poetry,” says Paula Sousa, the company’s CEO and creative director.
After working as an interior designer and creating upholstered items for Ginger & Jagger’s sister company, Munna Design, Sousa branched out, literally, to explore her distinct vision inspired by the greatest muse of all: Mother Nature. Compelled by her adoration of the earth’s wild landscape, she launched the label in 2012. “My longing was to create objects that can make people perceive the beauty in nature,” remarks Sousa. “I find it so moving, and I wanted to bring that personal connection and emotion to my creations.”
The brand enlists local artisans in the northern coastal city of Porto–known for its sweet dessert wine and traditional craftsmanship–scouring nearby terrain to unearth and gather motifs, textures and shapes to inform the designs. Sousa and her team then transform these branches, leaves and other organic elements into table legs, mirror details and light fixtures, to name a few. These rugged details are employed using old-world techniques, like welding and marquetry, with an unparalleled blend of luxury materials such as brass, copper and marble. For instance, a brass-casted mold of a found magnolia branch acts as the base for the line’s Primitive dining table. “The conceptual process is beautiful to me, as we don’t have to change what nature has to give,” says Sousa. “Beauty is necessary in life, and I want to make ordinary items have an extraordinary look and feel.”
While every offering has a perceived silhouette, each piece is made to order and crafted with its own soul and narrative in mind, taking weeks to create. The components of each product are made by various craftspeople–including skilled jewelry makers who perform some of the metalwork–and later assembled into the finished product. “Handcrafting is all about devoting the time necessary to producing an object but also perfecting a skill, and our artisans have spent many years learning their trades,” explains Sousa. “Time is the ultimate luxury.”