I Cognito interview rings

Boundary-breaking jewellery with Filipe Fonseca

Interview with the artisan |  Filipe Fonseca, founder of I Cognito

Explore the world of genderless handmade jewels in an exclusive interview.
Learn about the craftsmanship, inspiration, and philosophy behind these unisex creations that redefine traditional notions of gender in jewelry design.

As the boundaries of gender become more fluid, the world of jewelry is experiencing an extraordinary metamorphosis.

As we all know, Gen Z is a generation that strongly values individuality and fluid self-expression and this reflects on how design and fashion is evolving.
Indeed, many artisans and jewelry designers in TA-DAAN network like Flor Rubaja, Bona Calvi, and Binome Jewelry are designing unisex pieces that we have grouped in the collection "Beyond Boundaries".
Among these remarkable artists stands I Cognito, a handcrafted jewelry brand that embraces the power of genderless design. Their collections represent a fusion of creativity and inclusivity. 
Let's explore the topic further through an insightful interview with Filipe, the passionate founder of I Cognito. 

Hi Filipe, thanks for the interview. Tell us about your background and when and how did you start with I Cognito? What is behind this name?

My training started with jewelry/goldsmithing when I was 15, in a more creative and conceptual way, when I wasn't even considering this to be my area of work. Initially I was more into exploring a new creative side, but the goal at the time was fashion design or architecture. In the process, I continued my studies in fine arts in search of an artistic exploration without the barriers of design, conceptually free, and being able to explore. I ended up focusing on sculpture, but in the end returned to jewelry, to work on sculpture adapted to the body in the form of jewelry.

I Cognito emerged during the long stoppage that our lives had during the pandemic, it was already an old desire to have a project dedicated to online, more minimal and simple and masculine reading that had time to mature and be born. Cognito is to know, to be sure, to know, I COGNITO is, I know, I am, it is a cry of consciousness of self-knowledge of confidence for what you are for what you know.

I Cognito Filipe Fonseca I Cognito Filipe Fonseca wearing his rings

Your design can be defined as genderless? Correct? What elements or features make it truly inclusive and versatile?

Although our brand is communicated mostly through a masculine image and to a masculine audience, it is 100% genderless and totally androgynous. Our minimal design, simple, geometric and with an organic touch as in the rings of the Philic collection available through TA-DAAN, which are the perfect example of this. They are easy to wear and combine, either with each other or with other more classic or equally contemporary pieces. The only condition our pieces require is that they be worn and lived in, that they accumulate memories and stories.

Philic ring small silver I Cognito Philic ring small gold I Cognito
Philic ring collection big and small gold and silver I Cognito

In your opinion, how can genderless design challenge social norms and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse fashion industry? How does I Cognito play a role in this movement?

From my perspective it is more how can the fashion industry influence to normalize social norms. And there the answer is easy, the power of the industry and consumption is enormous. And if the industry normalizes gender difference or if it simply eliminates adjectival barriers as they have been doing little by little with changing the issues of perfect bodies by introducing a more natural and real image, in terms of sizes or race and ethnicity, questioning standard beauty, the fight becomes easier if everyone walks in the same direction.

We at I Cognito, simply try to create and produce without building barriers, we increase as much as possible our number of sizes so that it is possible for any body to have its ring number available and from there we just want to be used, without cataloging or adjectivizing those who choose us.

I Cognito model wearing textured rings silver I Cognito model wearing x rings silver
I Cognito model wearing x rings silver I Cognito model wearing x rings silver

Let's talk about the craftsmanship behind your jewelry pieces. How do you ensure that the quality and attention to detail aligns with your artistic vision? Is there a specific technique or material you use often?

The pieces are not produced by me, because early on I realized that as much as I liked jewelry, production was not my strong suit, especially for the level of demand and quality that I demanded that the pieces have. That way, the only way to be able to work is to trust and for that to work with the best artisans, with whom you know that after you pass your guidelines the pieces are born as if it were your hands.

We work through mostly manual techniques and all the pieces are meticulously finished to detail. We work mostly with silver although we are slowly starting to enter the gold market. A frequent technique in my pieces and that identifies me a lot is the mirror polished finish, the reflection through the metal, which makes the pieces constantly unique depending on the light of who is looking at them.

I Cognito polished rings silver and gold big I Cognito polished ring gold small

Besides genderless jewelry, what other aspects of design and aesthetics inspire you? How do these influences come into your creations, resulting in unique and captivating pieces?

Inspiration can come from anything, sometimes without even being aware that we are being inspired. However, I am passionate about architecture, and it is undoubtedly one of the greatest sources of shapes and angles of textures and projection and reception of light, as well as other artistic strands such as sculpture, photography, jewelry, and of course nature. All the influences result in a patchwork that finally becomes a new creation, a new piece that has been taken from many others to become unique and authentic. That is the process of creating.

Filipe Fonseca I Cognito silver rings