To fearlessly show our feelings and carry the sweetest dreams on our fingers, so they’re a visible source of inspiration, for ourselves and others. Dreamboule isn’t simply high jewellery taken to the highest degree, but veritable declaration of independence.
Born in Milan, Beniamino Crocco spent his infancy breathing the atmosphere of high watchmaking, driven by the passion of his father Carlo, founder of Maison Hublot. After graduating in Industrial Design, Beniamino founded the Circus Design studio in Milan, specializing mainly in furniture. Later, his passion for design combined with his knowledge of Swiss watchmaking brought him to work with some celebrated brands both in Milan and La Chaux de Fonds. In 2004 Ben decided to move into the family business in Geneva, where he gained key experience working on the relaunch of the Hublot brand introducing the celebrated Big Bang watch along with Jean-Claude Biver and Ricardo Guadalupe. In 2018 he established Dreamboule, a new adventure inspired on an old story fired by an infinite imagination.
F.1.M.: Let’s start with a question about our current situation. A creative born into the watchmaking world – a world centred around measuring the passage of time – how are you finding this peculiar period we’re living through, where time itself seems frozen, suspended awaiting a future more uncertain than ever?
B.C.: These difficult months we’re experiencing have forced us to stop, or at least slow the frenetic pace of our normal everyday lives. However, I think the situation we’re in could, in reality, offer a unique opportunity, like the chance to rediscover the true value of our time and how we choose to use it. Deep down, albeit in the form of works of high jewellery, Dreamboule creations give their wearers this precise ideal of absolute time, the important parts like listening to your inner voice, protecting and nurturing your dreams and memories that move at the speed of the heart, and are all too often lost in the frenzy of modern living. So I see the sapphire crystal boule of the ring encapsulating a dream immersed in an atmosphere cocooned by our special solution that gives the elements that slow, fluidic motion, preserving and protecting a precious little world from the wear and tear of time.
F.1.M.: The heritage of your experience in high watchmaking really shows through in many aspects of the design, and especially the technical realisation of your jewellery, like the extremely precise assembly technique that allows the ring to contain a surprising amount of fluid. But from a creative and emotive standpoint, how important has your “previously life” been to you?
B.C.: Dreamboule creations are works of high jewellery with strong evocative capacity, made possible by technical content of the utmost refinement, the fruit of three years of research and development: the jewel is waterproof up to 3 ATM, the internal fluid thermally controlled, the sapphire crystal is extremely strong, scratch-resistant, anti-reflective and has the correct distortion index. My experience in Hublot taught me a creative approach always focused on research, innovation, as much in the design as in the use of original materials and the fusion of apparently distant arts. Dreamboule crystallises this approach in the meeting of watchmaking, jewellery and the alchemy of the fluid elements.
F.1.M.: Last question about your past, I promise ;-): Hublot’s Big Bang model marked a net change in direction, not only through the power of the design but by the sheer size of the object itself. We find these same two aspects in your Dreamboule rings: do you see “Think big” as a sort of leitmotif in your work?
B.C.: I admit, Dreamboule creations certainly befit women who aren’t afraid of attracting attention, and who love bold, original style. But this having been said, alongside the exuberant Superb Line 36 mm and the Classic Line 28 mm we’ve significantly extended the Dreamboule collections with the recent introduction of the Classic Line 24 mm and the brand new Bubble Line 16 mm, with a lighter design that takes the concept of the gem encapsulated in a crystal sapphire boule to a smaller scale, but still with the 24K gold flakes fluttering in slow motion immersed in our Dream Solution. Over the last few months we’ve also introduced the entry price Star Line that takes up the iconic form of the boule de neige in coloured stones and playful shapes.
F.1.M.: Does the woman who wears Dreamboule need a particularly strong character to carry off these precious gems? Or on the contrary, does the “fairy tale” aspect of the boule de neige appeal to the perhaps shyer, more reflective kind of woman?
B.C.: Dreamboule high jewellery collections certainly appeal to the free, independent woman, who’s proud of her individuality and sure of her charisma. But anyway, we’ve created a vast range of dreamlike worlds and settings, around 140 at the moment, just like the multiplicity of dreams living in the fantasies of every woman. We’ve got natural themes, animal themes, symbolic, mythological themes, and even sentimental themes about love, loss, joy and romanticism. Not to mention the possibility of creating unique, custom pieces to order.
F.1.M.: You mentioned snow-globes, the classic boule de neige. Can you tell us something more about how you go about inventing each individual scenario, each individual miniature world, and how you choose the subjects and settings?
B.C.: Like I said, there are so many ideas for the subjects and scenarios, just as there are so many different forms of perfection in the wonder of nature and the eclectic universe of the sentiments. My sources of inspiration are things like long journeys in far away, exotic lands India, Bhutan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Oman, Egypt and Japan are a few of my favourites. Sometimes certain fragrances, colours and tastes, or the faces and the gazes impressed on my memory blend together and re-emerge in a design. In Dreamboule the animal symbolism of Asian philosophy is present in a particular way. Then my fundamental muse is my wife Katerina, who manages to bring me closer to the female universe. She’s always the first to discover and test out my creations.
Once the vision of what we want to communicate becomes clear, we translate the design into a selection of diamonds and precious stones, each to be specifically cut. The same with the generously sized high-carat stones that form the bases. The bases are a full pavé with diamonds, multicolour sapphires, faceted and cabochon with up to 140 polished faces, delicate mother-of-pearl or deep, volcanic stones with perfectly smooth surfaces. Each individual scenario takes more than 90 hours of high jewellery crafting to create. Each stone carefully evaluated in terms of cut, colour, clarity and carat, to bring out the evocative power of every single one.
F.1.M.: Going back to the kind of know-how it takes to make your jewels, I’m particularly drawn to those tiny 24 carat flakes fluttering inside the globes. How do you do that?
B.C.: The 24K flakes fluttering in slow motion inside the boule are an iconic part of the Dreamboule DNA. They represent that ethereal, suspended sparkle that wraps our dreams, and veil an ancient, rare savoir-faire. Using a method dating back to 1830, we work exceptionally pure 24K gold into the lightest, most impalpable leaf, in a process that takes over 300 hours. We make the gold flakes for Dreamboule in the South of France, at an historic atelier that worked on gilding the Statue of Liberty.
F.1.M.: Are you planning to develop the Dreamboule concept in other kinds of jewellery, as well as rings? Something for men perhaps?
B.C.: We’ve recently extended the Dreamboule collections to include bracelets, necklaces and earrings, which perfectly adapt the unique Dreamboule concept to a range of different items.
And yes, we’re investing a lot of creativity in the masculine universe. We’re currently working on two ring models for men, using ultralight materials and liquids with surprising chemical properties.