In conversation with: Redki Robki

5 min read

Redki Robki Behind the scenes


Redki Robki

Est. 2016 - Berlin, Germany

"We both always dreamt of creating something which is 100% in our hands, from the initial idea to managing the production and marketing. Furthermore, we fell in love with the idea of making emotional products that have a strong relation with the person who owns it. [...] We see jewellery as an integral part of the dress. We create value not through materials, we use strong ideas to do it!"
- Redki Robki



We asked a few questions to Redki Robki. Launched in 2016, they specialise in minimalist, modular jewellery that mix high quality materials with texture. When it comes to their products, no detail is left to chance and they strive for absolute perfection.
Read the full interview to better understand the incredible craft involved in making their minimalist cufflinks, and why Berlin was the obvious place for them to start their business.

 
Jeya Narrative: You started Redki Robki in 2016. How did it all begin and what is the vision for your brand?

Redki Robki: Yes, we started to develop the brand and our first collection in 2016. It was a long way until we finally found manufacturers who were able to realise our ideas. Minimalistic shapes are often much more complicated to manufacture as the simple shapes show every little inaccuracy.




I am curious - what is the story behind the name Redki Robki?

REDKI ROBKI is Russian [co-founder Swetlana is born in Russia]. The meaning of these two words is something like “Rare & Shy” which reflects our minimalist and understated design philosophy. These words look quite similar, and neither is more important than the other. Our logo is designed that way too; you can turn it upside down and change the order of the words.

All this reflects our design approach, which is exemplified by our first collection 'transformation'. We don't want to do jewellery which is 'simply' decorative. Every piece has something added to it, something special. The transformation is in the ability to change its shape. For our cufflinks for instance - it's mixing and matching the different but related shapes. For future collections, it could be the way the jewellery is worn or using an unusual material. There are almost no limits, but there has to have something new, unconventional and fascinating in it.


You studied product design at university. What drew you to that industry? What did you find most fascinating in how is product is made and the processes involved?

After our degree, we worked for well-known agencies and global players around the world. We have designed almost everything from phones to washing machines. After several years, we met each other at work and did some projects together. During that time, we realised that our individual design approaches were very similar and that we saw the world through the same eyes. That was when  everything started: we decided to make something together. 

Redki Robki | Solid silver cufflinks made in Germany
What was the appeal in creating a line of minimalist jewellery for men and women?

We love to design intricate products. We both always dreamt of creating something which is 100% in our hands, from the initial idea to managing the production and marketing. Furthermore, we fell in love with the idea of making emotional products that have a strong relation with the person who owns it. We both are into fashion so we decided to make jewellery. With a strong background in design, we wanted to create jewellery that is special - focusing not on the status (and high priced materials) but the idea behind it.

Our minimalist designs are understated and timeless. We see jewellery as an integral part of the dress. That's why our first collection is transformable in shape to fit almost every neckline and occasion. We create value not through materials, we use strong ideas to do it! Our jewellery is unconventional, fascinating and follows a specific idea.

Describe your workshop and the environment you work in.

We have an office with a small retail store at the front. Unfortunately the store is not open yet, but we will change that starting next year. Within the office ,we have a small prototyping workshop which enables us to immediately realise and check all our ideas. It's a lovely place within a nice neighbourhood of small retail stores, restaurants and other creatives in the heart of Berlin.

Has Berlin had an impact on the direction of your business? Do you find it an inspirational place to be?

Starting our business in Berlin was a conscious decision. We moved here because we both love the city and its very unique creative spirit, which you can feel on every corner. It is a melting pot for fashion, art and any kind of crazy new ideas. For us, it is definitely the place to be!

Redki Robki | Mix and match solid silver cufflinks


The manufacturing of your jewellery really fascinates me. Could you briefly describe the various steps that need to be undertaken to make your cufflinks?

Our cufflinks are crafted by a selected group of small, local manufacturers. First of all, our cufflinks get cast from a single piece of 925 Sterling Silver. After which, another manufacturer handles all the surface finishing such as sandblasting and  hand-polishing. Due to the fact that we have both surfaces combined in a single piece, this is a very delicate operation. Which is why it needs to be done by the same specialised person again and again. At this stage, the cufflinks are cleaned and galvanised with a very thick layer of 999 fine silver by another specialist manufacturer. Back again at our burnisher, the cufflinks get finished with a second final high-gloss polish. Like always, it is all done by hand. After a quality check, they get their last treatment by coating in 999 fine silver and/or 23 karat gold.
All our manufacturers involved are highly specialised and we work closely with them to be able to reach our high quality standards. 


 

Would you mind sharing what the main differences are between the first few prototypes you made and the final cufflinks as they now stand? What have been the major lessons learnt?

We did the same as we do for every jewellery piece of REDKI ROBKI. To make a long story short: For our cufflinks, we did hundreds of sketches, digital 3D designs, physical plastic mock-ups and 3D printed around 100 prototypes out of metal to finalise every single aspect. We did usability tests to identify possible handling problems and tried different ways to put cufflinks on different shirt designs. We tested our finalise designs with different people in real life. All these steps are an iterative process, the only way to reach perfection.  

Redki Robki | Solid silver cufflinks made in Germany

What, in your opinion, is pushing the resurgence of local manufacturing? Why is it important to you to manufacture your products in Germany?

We love to have direct contact with people. With our local manufacturers, we have the chance to visit them easily and to talk face-to-face. As designers, we need to witness production possibilities, or understand problems that occur within the process. All this ends up in a strong and trustful relationship, which is necessary to achieve high quality standards and to push the bar even further.

 

What one accessory should a man who wishes to be discerning in his style own?

An absolute must-have is a perfect fitted shirt with a pair of timeless cufflinks. Which by the way is on trend again, especially in Berlin.

Lastly…

Place you call home: Berlin (Friedrichshain/Kreuzberg)

A colour: Black

A place: Close to water
Style icon(s): 
Stella von Senger / Günther Krabbenhöft
Go-to accessory to dress to impress:Smile 
Most coveted item in your wardrobe: 
Coat 
Favourite tool to work with:  
Hands





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