Tzvika Janover Forms The Artistry Of A Bespoke Experience

Creative director Tzvika Janover offers a glimpse into his high jewelry business and creative approach, while paying homage to his foremost mentor. 

Following their presentation at TEFAF Maastricht, the prestigious European fine art fair, Lifestyle Asia caught up with FORMS creative director Tzvika Janover in Hong Kong’s Central District for an intimate and candid conversation. 

FORMS co-founder and creative director Tzvika Janover
FORMS co-founder and creative director Tzvika Janover

It was a warm welcome by FORMS’ head of brand development, Kelly Mak and Janover whose eye quickly landed on the ring I was wearing on my left index finger. With a genuine smile, he kept his gaze on the piece and said, “I like.” I thanked him for his kind words, sharing that the ring is citrine on brass. How very apt to begin our conversation in this way, sparked by this cherished wearable art piece by Filipina model and designer, Girlie Benitez.

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Early influences

Janover was immersed in the jewelry industry at a young age. Before founding FORMS, he gathered extensive education and training in the field. This includes gemology and jewelry-making techniques. He also gained experience from the family business, a large-scale jewelry manufacturing with international cutting facilities.

Looking back, the creative director feels fortunate to have crossed paths with several people he admired. They also guided him through his career. However, he specifically acknowledges one person. He shares,“If I had to choose, I would say that my mother, my first teacher in the industry, was my greatest mentor. She taught me perseverance, hard work, patience, and the value of mastering something. I learned to appreciate the long process of going deep into a subject while visualizing the final goal. She had a tremendous influence on my work ethic.”

A channel for creative expression

FORMS was founded by Janover and Elad Assor in 2009. Their vision has remained the same throughout the years. “We are committed to unrestricted creative expression and an ongoing exploration and innovation in color, shape, and materials for our designs. At the same time, we want to bring a modern perspective to old-world jewelry techniques,” Janover revealed.

He continues, “While the industry was shifting towards automation, I became intrigued by the idea of combining the craftsmanship and artistry of handmade pieces with modern technologies.”

Discerning and curious clientele 

Clients are jewelry connoisseurs who discover FORMS through referrals or auctions. Many are collectors who have a desire for individual expression. With conviction, Janover characterizes their client as a curious being.

He adds, “We love to serve knowledgeable clients who can appreciate rare and unique gems and materials, and the high level of artistry and sophistication of FORMS designs.They seek unique, contemporary, and, most importantly, wearable jewelry.”  

The luxury of rarity

He elaborates that all styles are handcrafted in their in-house atelier by master artisans using rare and ethically sourced natural gemstones, unique materials, and cutting-edge techniques. They are committed to designing unique and innovative jewels that seamlessly integrate into their clients’ lifestyles.

Triangular shaped diamond and brown aluminum fan earrings by FORMS
Triangular shaped diamond and brown aluminum fan earrings

The brand focuses on quality over quantity, with the atelier producing approximately only 100 pieces every year. This ensures meticulous attention to detail and perfection in every creation. 

When asked if he has a favorite FORMS piece, he says, “It’s hard to say because while I feel joy when we complete a piece, I already think of my next design. I am someone who, most of all, enjoys the creative process.”  

Bespoke experience

Janover emphasizes, “We focus on keeping the quality of our designs at the highest level, therefore, we can produce approximately a hundred pieces a year. We have an in-house atelier where we can feel free to experiment and take all the time we need to perfect our pieces. It’s a matter of choosing quality over quantity.”

Type IIa light brown diamond and bronze aluminum ring by FORMS
Type IIa light brown diamond and bronze aluminum ring

FORMS headquarters are in Hong Kong, where Janover is more often. Over time, they built a reliable team of professionals that ensures operations run smoothly in both locations.

Hong Kong is the cultural gateway between East and West. Geneva is the cradle of the jewelry-making industry. Both operate on by-appointment only. According to Janover, they designed their headquarters to offer superior service to clients. It is a space where one can feel comfortable and explore FORMS artistry, while enjoying a truly bespoke experience.

Royal white Baltic amber and yellow diamond earrings by FORMS
Royal white Baltic amber and yellow diamond earrings

Further to being a medium for their clients’ artistic expression, FORMS has contributed to art institutions and educational programs in Hong Kong. They intend to continue to support initiatives that foster community through the arts.

A multi-faceted role

Some of us may be curious about the challenges of being a creative director for a high jewelry brand. Janover sheds light, “The creative director’s job in high jewelry, especially at FORMS, involves many moving parts; it is not limited to design. From overseeing the sourcing of material to following each step of production, each creation brings new challenges.” However, he shares that his years of experience have prepared him to face many of these challenges. These have also helped him to develop patience. He continues, “It is a necessary quality when constantly working with new, complex designs.”

FORMS creative director Tzvika Janover
“The creative director’s job in high jewelry, especially at FORMS, involves many moving parts; it is not limited to design,” says Janover on his role at FORMS

Furthermore, he shares that the role of the creative director is crucial to many aspects of the company. These encompass managing relationships with clients and creative needs of the team. It involves always looking ahead and staying informed of industry changes. It is a balancing act to ensure that the company is on the right path. 

Collaborative creative process

Alongside these challenges, Janover shares what he loves about being a creative director. He says, “I love my environment. I am fortunate to lead an exceptional team of creative, talented people. About the most rewarding aspect of his work, he declares, “My creative freedom.” On one of the most valuable lessons he has learned, Janover answers, “Persistence. It helped maintain our key goals while allowing flexibility as the brand evolved.”

Janover reveals that the creative process is all about collaboration. He explains that they draw inspiration from different elements in the environment. They also share ideas. He expounds, “Each person of the team brings a perspective based on their expertise. We then produce several prototypes for each design, which continuously evolves to create the perfect piece. There is an open-door policy; we have a weekly design meeting with all the office staff, including design, production, marketing, and sales.”

On a personal note

If Janover could meet his 20-year old self again to offer him some advice, he said that he thinks all the experiences he went through were valuable in helping him get to where he is now. “So, I don’t think I would change much; I would just let him find his way.”

Happily married with a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter, the husband and father considers his family his most greatest blessing, together with his career. He believes that true success is defined by the ability to balance different aspects of life. Speaking of balance–he shares that he tries to practice work-life balance. “I have a position of high responsibility, so it is a daily struggle, but I am getting better at it.”

On his ideal holiday, “I love a very busy, productive day. The perfect holiday is to travel with my wife and kids. We try to take two trips a year, one to visit a cultural destination and the other to explore nature.”

He adds, “I love art, traveling, and surfing. I choose a new destination every year to ride the waves.”

Eagerly anticipating tomorrow

His take on the real meaning of wealthy and luxury is, “Personally, I feel that luxury is an object or experience that evokes positive emotions, not what it projects to others.”

When asked what compels him to wake up each morning, Janover shares, “It is being part of a stimulating environment where new things happen every day. I find the notion of ‘keep moving’ very exciting.” On the future and what it holds, he says that he is always excited to see what is next. “It’s part of my personality and the brand’s DNA. We are constantly raising the bar.”

Even with success already achieved, the ever prolific creative closes the interview by sharing what keeps the fire in his belly burning: “The next design.” 

Photos courtesy of FORMS.

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