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The maison, dually based in Manama and Paris, was founded to create unique, wearable masterpieces that redefine the notion of bespoke luxury, imbued with powerful symbolism, and entirely handcrafted using the best of contemporary know-how, says the founder of the brand Mahmood Qannati, a Bahraini global entrepreneur with a passion for history, a keen eye for art and a deep-rooted love of fine craftsmanship.
Qannati’s debut collection, “Celebration of Time,” consists of 13 intricately designed, beautifully handcrafted, wearable objets d’art, each a masterpiece that bridges the aesthetic divide between art, jewellery and timepiece.
“Celebration of Time” was unveiled at an exclusive, invitation-only presentation in Paris during “Couture Week” in July.
“Celebration of Time” is the product of four years of passion and unrelenting commitment to achieving perfection in every detail. It is a collection of exotic wrist ornaments designed with international elite of art and luxury connoisseurs in mind, today’s “Chosen Ones” who have truly mastered the art of time, says Qannati in an interview with Arabian Knight.
The traditions Qannati looked to are the pride of Bahrain, namely its pearling industry and its jewellery-making culture. But he also deep-dived into the Epic of Gilgamesh, a foundational narrative that is part of the region’s 4,500-year-old Mesopotamian tales, and one that has produced a repertoire of ornamental motifs that are so powerful and rich with symbolism that continue to resonate with historians and cultural elites alike.
The brand is unique in that it creates jewellery which reflects its clients’ personalities and stories, says Qannati.
Excerpts from the interview:
What inspired you to found Qannati?
Watches have always been a fascination of mine, not necessarily for their time-telling function, but because of the way they look and feel on my wrist. This led to the creation of Qannati, a brand that specialises in freezing time as well as keeping it.
Our mission is to help clients choose a treasured moment from their lives and transform it into a personalised art object that they can wear on their wrist. Using exotic materials and gemstones, we bring these moments to life in a unique and meaningful way.
Qannati is more than just a passion project; it’s a way to leave a lasting legacy through the beauty and significance of wearable art.
What are your main creations?
Qannati strives to design unique and personalised works of art for its clients, making them its utmost priority. Our inaugural collection, ‘Celebration of Time’ comprises six Eternity bracelets and six Quantum timepieces.
Qannati’s debut collection focuses on seven significant moments from the universe’s inception to the future. Combining the themes of history, science, religion, mythology, spirituality and motosport in the same collection was an exciting and challenging task, never attempted before.
Qannati plans to release new collections in the future including a more accessible line of customisable timepieces.
What are the themes you focus on in your works?
For generations, luxury jewellery brands have created exquisite pieces inspired by nature and animals, a tradition that continues today. Qannati takes a different approach to jewellery and watch design. Qannati is unique in that it creates jewellery which reflects our clients’ personalities and stories.
For our collections, we always refer back to the Qannati Spectrum. Qannati uses the concept of the ‘Flower of Life’ as a major point of reference. It combines three states of being: Past & Future, Matter & Consciousness and Fiction & Reality. It is an immortal pattern that guides everything Qannati creates. So our collections always follow one of the Spectrum’s universes.
What are the USPs of the brand in the luxury market?
What sets Qannati apart is our approach to business – we are a ‘brand-to-brand’ business and we treat every person as a brand, personalising our offerings accordingly. Additionally, we cater to the growing market-niche of luxury jewellery for men. Men’s interest in jewellery is on the rise, and sales of unisex jewellery reflect that.
At Qannati, we take pride in our attention to detail and craftsmanship. Due to the ultra-bespoke nature of the brand, we are able to capture the desire of every art, jewellery, or watch collector.
You are known to merge history and art into jewellery making ... how does this work?
The Qannati brand seamlessly blends art, jewellery, and horology. We draw inspiration from ancient Mesopotamia and the brand’s designs pay tribute to the jewellery of ancient kings who wore ornate bracelets on both wrists.
Qannati bridges the gap between the ancient and modern – connecting us to the past while embracing the future.
Do you want to be considered a Middle Eastern brand or global?
Qannati is dually anchored in France and Bahrain, and its pieces are expertly handcrafted in France. Each is a masterpiece of rare aesthetics and superior craftmanship that marries ancient history and ancestral symbolism with the best of French savoir-faire in jewellery-making and miniature sculpture.
Though handmade in France, Qannati Objet d’Art is firmly grounded in the traditions of ancient Mesopotamia, birthplace of 4,500-year-old civilisations. That is our identity and we’re strongly influenced by the culture and mythology of the region. That said, we are a global brand with a global customer base.
Qannati is known as being Bahrain’s first luxury brand. How big a task is it to convince people that a luxury brand has originated from here?
We are a Franco-Bahraini brand, and our headquarters in Paris’ Place Vendome mean that we are already associated with sophistication and luxury. Qannati’s success will be as a result of the merit of its products, rather than which nations the brand is associated with. That said, if we are Bahrain’s first luxury brand, it’s a label that we wear with pride, and no doubt many others will follow.
What are some of the challenges you faced in the five-year journey so far?
Despite the daily challenges, we never lost sight of our goal to share our story with the world. One of the first hurdles was finding partners who shared our vision; in Frederic and Jothi, we found two visionaries who not only became business partners but brand ambassadors too.
For me personally, one of the biggest challenges was entering the luxury industry, which can be overwhelming. Our team ensured that we met the right people, who could help us build the brand and put Qannati on the map. Since the launch of the collection in July 2022, we have won two significant jewellery awards, which is a reflection of our commitment to innovation and tradition.
What is your ambition for the brand?
We aim to become a leader in both the jewellery and horology space, without compromising our ideals or the things that make the brand so special. I want us to reinvent how we think about the concept of time. We’ve always pushed the boundaries of what is possible and will continue to do so.
We are currently touring the US, showcasing our exclusive pieces with local partners while also working on our second collection, which promises to push the boundaries of storytelling and craftsmanship.
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