Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Welcome to Open Studio, a Racked feature where we explore the workspaces and showrooms of some of the city's most talented designers.
- Theres a lot of weird music playing in the studio, I often feel I'm torturing my interns. The only constant is every Friday afternoon we listen to Wu Tang.
- More evidence of hoarding, and what will eventually be a lounge but has a metal patio couch as a place holder. The motorcycle is a 1964 Benelli I just finished restoring, and the flag is an unofficial 42 star American flag from 1893. I am not terribly pat
- The Double Kira ring, available in 14k rose, yellow or white gold with cut watermelon tourmalines ($950)
- The Pyramid Ring in solid 14k yellow or rose gold with pave ($1050)
- My bench at present: a million little projects in need of completion.
- A set of Signet rings
- Here's the crew at work. Unfortunately, the more successful you become the more time you spend in front of the computer and away from the bench.
- I start daily at around 9am and am there until around 6 or 7pm. I have a few interns now, so generally the only time I go into the city is if there's something only I can take care of, like buying diamonds. (The best errand to run.)
- The Sorsha ring in 14k yellow gold with a round rose cut diamond ($3120)
- Rings from the Inigo & Atreyu collection
- Another vast improvement in the new studio space: a massive amount of natural light, though we'll be cooking come summer.
- Nuki, the dog, stares at nothing or a ghost—we haven’t decided yet.
- The Ties That Bind Ring ($150, bottom) and the Ruler Ring ($150)
- I'm in the prototyping process now for my next collection based on Alchemy & Hermeticism, so there's a lot of really amazing reference imagery Ive been working with. My current favorite is the Ouroboros ring, seen here above.
- The Code of Sea Necklace in oxidized sterling silver ($150)
- The Ambro Rig, available in 18k rose or yellow gold with a one of a kind rose cut watermelon tourmaline ($1390)
- For my collections, I heavily research and immerse myself in a certain historical event or period, and all the designs come pretty naturally from there. Once I'm really to prototype, I rarely sketch on paper—I generally just begin by carving wax or engrav
- All of the prototypes and reference items get filed in an antique letter press type cabinet.
- Random pictures (clockwise from top): my great-great-great Grandfather George Brigham prospecting during the gold rush; photo of a 19th c. sawmill; a Native American painting by Pop Charles; and a set of 3D miniature Colt revolvers
Photos by Driely S. for Racked
Digby & Iona designer Aaron Ruff works out of the The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn, inside a studio that's drenched in natural light, covered with antiques, and filled with stunning diamond rings, wedding bands, signet necklaces, and collections inspired by nostalgia for past centuries (and in some cases, movies from the '80s).
Ruff, who grew up in Maine, says that the studio is always open to visitors who want to come by and check it out. Of the area, he says, "I've been living and working out of Cobble Hill for eight years in different studios and apartments. It's definitely changed a lot, and I'm about to be sandwiched in-between a Rag & Bone and a J.Crew—which was unthinkable a few years ago—but it's still got a great neighborhood vibe."