You Are (the) Here: Vienna
The collections of secular and sacred metalworking in and around Vienna were overwhelming. As a system of government, monarchies might have some issues but man-oh-man can they turn out some lavish metalwork! I am sorry to say that Cellini’s saliera was not on view and no amount of throwing my (limited) weight around got me access to it. However, Nicholas of Verdun’s altarpiece was incredibly moving and the silver cabinet of the central palace was awe-inspiring. What I always think about in such places is the hours and hours of human inventiveness and skill that went into the collected works.
The public element in Vienna that I chose to use for its representation in the You Are (the) Here project came quite easily. I was delighted to find that their older fire hydrants resemble bishops from a chess game. These were frequently accompanied by similarly sculpted bollards to keep cars out of a pedestrian area. The combination of a larger hydrant balanced by a series of slightly smaller bollards as a counterweights to one another sounded like a great opportunity for a necklace. Furthermore, the two-sided ornament may reference the position of Austria as a link between Eastern and Western European Cultures.
As in Paris, there were a number of side items that will probably end up getting translated on the jeweler’s bench as well.