We have known Helena Rohner for a long time and have enormous respect for her work. We share the excitement of creation with calm and care, with enthusiasm for the process and we are very excited that it is part of our monthly interview series #leborgabalabrightwomen.

We chatted with her about her passion for materials, how she understands the relationship with the artisans who participate directly in the development of her designs, her new SS21 collection “Comedies et proberves” and the presentation of her first sculpture at the Mapfre Foundation.

Your mother wove and your father made puppets. Is growing up among artisans what has inspired you to continue on this path?

Without a doubt they have instilled in me creativity, but, above all, the love of craftsmanship, materials and good work.

Your jewelry is a mixture of various materials, from silver, gold, porcelain, stone, fabrics or wood. What does this alliance contribute? What do you like?

I like to investigate the tensions and the contrast between the materials. I believe that in addition to taking it as a creative challenge, they value each other.

All your jewels are produced in your workshop, working hand in hand with the artisans. How is this relationship established? What does your daily dialogue bring you?

I aspire to make an intimate jewel, close to the person who wears it. For this, it seems essential that it is handmade and produced to order. Proximity to the artisan is essential and that is why materials such as wood or porcelain come from nearby suppliers in Madrid.



Your pieces are very colorful, where does this fascination come from?

Uy, well imagine what … from the Canary Islands? I like light, I love color and I am fascinated by the combination of different colors.

What does a jewel represent for you?

A close object that becomes part of one has an almost anthropological value with the emotional charge that each one attaches to it. An experience, a gift, an inheritance, a loan …



Your latest SS21 collection, Comedies et proverbes, corresponds to one of the cycles of the French film director Eric Rohmer. What inspired you? How has the creative process been?

We wanted to propose a story, reflect what we are experiencing and in Rohmer we find that longing for summer, to share, to be outdoors, to talk about life … always outdoors. We hope to aspire to connect more with loved ones.

What have been the materials with which you have created this SS21 collection? What differentiates this collection from the previous ones?

The SS21 collection combines various materials. On the one hand, porcelain made by hand in very beautiful colors such as ice, bougainvillea, forest green and mango. On the other hand, beads in 3d printing made with a filament that is a biopolymer – it comes from vegetables such as potatoes or yucca and, therefore, is biodegradable – natural wood and some jute beads.

At the base are, of course, silver and gilded brass in the soft, organic shapes that I like so much to model by hand.

The fine jewelry collection is always 18 karat gold individually handcrafted with coral to give good luck, I read that it is a good luck bearer and I wear it whenever I can.



There is a clear trend towards the recovery of the artisanal process, a vindication of things well done. Do you think it is a consequence of the pandemic towards a more responsible consumption?

I believe that the pandemic has forced us to slow down, it has made us aware that we are part of a community. We need less things and if we have to buy something, let it be local and special, with a soul.

Apart from your jewelry collection, you also have your own home collection and you design products for other brands, how do you choose these collaborations?

The world of design is somewhat intuitive, you come into contact with different publishers. I design beyond jewelry as a challenge, I like to set new goals for myself. It makes me grow and that’s what I want. I try to design different worlds. For now: rugs, poufs, shawls, candles, knobs, steel tea set and so on … with each company, a different product.

You have recently presented your first sculpture, Giro, at the Mapfre Foundation. Is it the beginning of a new stage?

Oh yeah! I have always said that jewelry is a shy sculpture and that one day I would make a large sculpture. Juan Naranjo has allowed me to break the barrier and make this small sculpture with which I am very happy. As a designer it is a challenge to create a piece devoid of practicality or use. I feel liberated.

Barbara Hepworth defended the importance of touching the sculpture in order to connect with the material and abandon rigidity. How do you understand the relationship with a sculpture?

A sculpture is art in three dimensions, with many readings, it depends from where you look at it. A bit like life, that is why it is essential to look at it a lot, move around and touch it, of course. Each material has a different temperature and touch that enhances the experience of contemplating a piece of art.



Sculpture “Giro”, exhibited in the KBR bookstore by Juan Naranjo


How would you explain your evolution as a designer? Which of your pieces do you think best expresses what or who is Helena Rohner?

I would say that in the 27 years I’ve have learned a lot. Having not studied design and hardly any jewelry (I studied international relations), all my experience has been based on learning and humility towards manufacturing. Always being aware of my limitations and designing within that wonderful box that is nothing more than a perpetual challenge to do my best. I think that over the years I have been refining myself, of course the desire for what is essential is more and more accentuated.

You have followed our brand for several seasons, how do our garments make you feel?

I know the brand Lebor Gabala for many years, 15 years, could it be? We share a fair in Paris and I have used the brand ever since. We share the timeless aesthetic and I feel very comfortable in all the pieces that I have, that I use and reuse. My 18 year old daughter starts stealing my Lebor, that’s a good sign. 🙂

Interview: Raquel Rabadán

On the cover, Helena in a dress from our SS18 collection. Photography Anton Goiri.

Helena Rohner´s Instagram: @helenarohner