Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background in art and what led you to creating M&M?

During my studies in Fine Arts I experimented with all kinds of materials such as wood, glass and porcelain. And after finishing art school I got more and more interested in producing objects that have a somewhat more intermediate relationship to the body. So creating jewelry was the next logical step and I’m still very happy that I took that direction, since you get very direct feedback from the people who wear it. When I realized that my designs are not just exciting to me but also to others, I decided to build up my brand and make it a profession. This is how Mussels and Mussels was born.

We love the moniker Mussels & Muscles, how did you come up with it?

The name was born in Italy when I was on vacation with a friend. I love to travel to mediterranean areas and wanted to capture the fleeting summer feeling, but also the melancholy that travel brings with it (a vacation is only so long).

The label stands for jewelry that celebrates the body and harmoniously contours silhouettes ("Muscles"). Also, the concept is understood as an emotional one: summer feelings, images of balmy summer nights, shimmering water and salty skin ("Mussels").

Do you have a favorite artist or someone who embodies or inspires M&M?

Actually, I am most inspired by the people and things that surround me every day.
Over the years I have brought a lot of things from travels that inspire me, such as various beads of stone in different colors and sizes, postcards, flea market finds such as strange objects like stone boxes, Mary figurines. Beach finds, shells, glass, stones, melted plastic deformed by the sea, etc.

Actually, everything can inspire me if I am just open / receptive, and that usually happens when I am in nature, in the mountains, sea or forest, and can let my mind wander and not be distracted by everyday obligations. But also in movies, books or magazines I discover things that inspire / fascinate me.

Mostly I make small sketches, or write a short note and develop the ideas in the studio. During the process / in the implementation arise so partly completely new pieces that are revised again and again, lie, reworked until I am satisfied with the design.

Favorite stone or stones to work with?

Currently, I'm fascinated a lot by rock crystal, a stone that closely resembles water, the element that has inspired many of my designs. Like fossilized ice, light can shine through it beautifully, creating wonderful refractions and reflections.

I find that rock crystal is an ideal stone for making jewelry out of it, as it doesn't take center of stage but instead gives the wearer a certain glow, a touch of light.

Would love your take on Eastern European fashion/culture -- who are your favorite follows, music we should know about or anything else that feels signature to your home?

As a German who recently moved to Vienna, I am still in the process of getting to know my new chosen home. I am particularly fascinated by the dark humor and morbidity that Austria, and especially Vienna, is known for. For example, I really like the musicians 'Soap and Skin' (love the song 'Italy') or 'Voodoo Jürgens' (especially his song 'Heite grab ma Tote aus').

Personally, I love cooking and good food. The Austrian wine culture, especially the natural wine scene with wine makers like Schödl or Tscheppe, is definitely worth exploring.

Thanks to a friend who dances at the Vienna State Ballet, I've become interested in the Austrian dance scene. During the summer, Vienna hosts the 'Impulstanz' dance festival, attracting dancers from all over the world. I really love Vienna during that time, as the city is particularly vibrant and bustling with cultural events. 

I can't think of Vienna and not think of Before Sunrise (sorry, that's probably the equivalent of relating Philly with Rocky...) Can you give us a perfect 24 hours in Vienna: where would you go, what would you do?

The perfect 24 hours would definitely be in late summer, let’s say September. I'd start by strolling through the Brunnenmarkt in Vienna's 16th district and having a CI Toast for breakfast at Café Club International. Then, I'd hop on my bike and head to the Neuwaldegger Bad, a charming old outdoor pool on the hills of Vienna. There, I'd relax under a red umbrella next to white-painted wooden changing rooms and enjoy an apple strudel by the poolside.

The vineyards are not far from there, and just around the corner is my favorite Heuriger (typical Austrian vine tavern) 'Feuerwehr Wagner', where I would savor new wine and a cheese platter while watching the sunset over Vienna. A bit chipsy from the wine and the sun I'd enjoy the bike ride downhill all the way back home or to my favorite Bar “Kleines Café” (also seen in “Before sunrise” : ) ) for a last drink.

Favorite place you've traveled to recently and where is next on your list?

My mother moved to Sardinia last year. I visited her there for the first time a few weeks ago and was overwhelmed by the Italian island in spring. Everything was in bloom, and the sea still had its wild winter energy. Italy always gets me…

The greater surroundings of Vienna are perfect for bike trips (mountains, the valley of the Danube, deep forests,…) and I’m currently looking for a bicycle that I can use for at least one longer bike packing trip this summer.

For some reason I’ve been fascinated by Mexico for quite a while now without ever having been there, so that’s really high up on the list.

Can you pick 5 (or however many you'd like) of your favorite Vestige pieces that you would pair/style with M&M?

I'm a huge fan of E.L.V., B.Sides, and Jesse Kamm jeans. Combined with a white shirt and a beloved Mussels & Muscles piece, you're basically perfectly styled for any event. If you’d like to go party, add the Cascade earrings or the Crystal Spheres Necklace - for a summery everyday outfit, go with the Pebbles Earrings or the Light Blue Spheres Earrings.

I've also completely fallen for the pink Slip Dress from Injiri, a real eye-catcher not only when paired with the Light Blue Glyzinia Earrings…

The Crystal Pebbles Earrings and any Lauren Manoogian piece are a match made in heaven as well. : )