Ryoko Sekiguchi, écrivain et traductrice, au restaurant Botanique, 71, rue de la Folie-Méricourt.

Ryoko Sekiguchi, writer and translator, in the restaurant Botanique, at 71, rue de la Folie-Méricourt.

Les créateurs dans l’atelier bruxellois de François Schuiten.

The authors in François Schuiten’s studio in Brussels.

Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch (the butterfly flutters)

How did you acquire the expertise necessary in high jewelry?

In the jewelry world, expertise comes from experience, you can’t teach it. I came to Van Cleef & Arpels to structure operations, from the design stage to sales. Without having a “magic formula.” The first years involved a huge learning curve, with the goal of achieving a balance between design, technique and the company’s DNA (flowers, nature, dance and gorgeous stones).

How do you define time?

It’s a value: our business has that timeless aspect of childhood wonder, its relevance. We work with the most durable materialsthink of all the jewelry found during archaeological digs.

Do the stories of the collections build cohesive teams?

Absolutely, it fuses people’s energy around the evocative Peau d’Âne, Jules Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages and Noah’s Ark. The creative process is not linear, so the workshops function in parallel and are mutually inspiring.

Noah’s Ark appeared in a public exhibition. Why?

The company wanted to bring back a mode from the past. Jewelry, like painting and sculpture, moves and fascinates people. The exhibition doesn’t focus on monetary value, showcasing only the emotion. Robert Wilson therefore displayed our animal jewels in a case set at a child’s height.

The theme of this issue is “Poetry.” What places are poetic to you?

Venice and Rome. And extremely urban neighborhoods: Downtown LA, Daikanyama and Nakameguro in Tokyo, combinations of ultra-contemporary architecture and dilapidated buildings.

Have you discovered truly unique expertise during your travels?

In Kyoto, Kunihiko Moriguchi, who is a Living National Treasure, creates kimonos featuring designs made with a rice-paste resist that is removed after dyeing, using plant-based colorsa unique technique.