F5: Jing Ju on Retro-Futuristic Art, an Iconic Jeweler + More

02.09.24 | By
F5: Jing Ju on Retro-Futuristic Art, an Iconic Jeweler + More

Jing Ju knew she was onto something after realizing she wouldn’t exchange her life for anyone else’s. Ju is the founder of JUJU Studio, a Queens, New York-based spatial design practice creating temporary and permanent spaces that push the boundaries of sensorial and immersive experiences. Throughout her career, Ju’s work has swing between scales and creative disciplines, borrowing from sculpture and architecture to create unique brand experiences that are functional and visually enticing. All of this simultaneously translates to her other role as Senior Designer, Global Creative Visual Merchandising at Tiffany & Co.

When someone forges their own path, there often aren’t many examples to learn from, but Ju looks to her friends who provide the necessary support and inspiration we all crave. “Not everyone gets what I’m doing, but my friends are my collective mentors. They share their wisdom as I explore this new journey,” she says. “We bond over cooking dinners, exploring museums, and enjoying sports together. Effie’s a negotiation pro, Chloe cheers me on, and Shunyao’s savvy business advice fuels my entrepreneurial growth. It’s amazing how they’ve shaped me.”

blurry photo of a woman with pulled back dark hair and red lips

Jing Ju

Recalling the first piece of art that left a lasting impression, Ju describes her key encounter with Qi Baishi’s ink wash shrimps. Only a few quick brushstrokes bring identical crustaceans to life, giving each their own visual momentum. Ju says, “Similar to jazz, ink painting doesn’t involve much editing or drafting, making the process highly spontaneous. You can sense the artist’s presence in every stroke. That feeling of being present and focused during the creative process resonates with me.” Those who have the opportunity to experience Ju’s spatial work likely feel similarly while amidst her spaces.

While many creatives seem to turn away from the idea of gathering material mementos, Ju embraces it. For her, things like handwritten letters from friends and family – even scorecards from games – make her feel more connected to how she’s seen through their eyes. “These tangible expressions balance out my occasional negative thoughts about myself. For me, handwritten letters are like the language in “Arrival” – they bring a scent, visuals, emotions, and a sense of time, they keep special moments in my heart,” Ju explained.

We’re happy to have Jing Ju with us for this week’s Friday Five!

graphic art of two eyeballs

Art/Photo: Miki Kim

1. Art by Miki Kim

She’s a South Korean tattoo artist and illustrator, and I love her trippy and surreal style. Her creations delve into psychedelic realms, challenging societal norms and drawing from personal experiences and a fascination with technology. Her retro-futuristic aesthetic, marked by bold lines and vibrant colors, stands out. What’s remarkable is that Miki is entirely self-taught, driven by a passion for Japanese culture, cartoons, and ’80s and ’90s films, solidifying her presence in the art world. I found her art subtly incorporates symbols of feminism, echoing the belief in a female-led future, which I resonate a lot with. Her work is a testament to creativity and cultural fusion.

long horizontal piece of art with block-like shapes in various pastels and patterns


2. Chinese Ink + Color on Silk by ZHANG XIAOLI

I recently visited ZHANG XIAOLI’s North America solo debut exhibition. WHIMSICAL MAZE merges Eastern aesthetics with scientific concepts, crafting ethereal worlds through delicate brushwork on silk and paper – Periodic table, Mobius strip, explosion, black hole, cell division, lunar phases, neural networks, LEGO bricks, ink landscape, vascular network, metronome clock.… So fascinated by the poetic experiments, depicting realms of free interest amid distortions and imagination. Looking at this art I felt I have finally found someone embodying the artist’s dream that little me once had. Longing for the focused energy of the little Jing dreaming about being an artist, painting in the attic. I persistently seek that special creative spark in my past and future career. The only difference is art is open to interpretation, design is not.

woman with dark hair and oversized glasses works on jewelry over a table

Photo: Duane Michals, Vogue, December 1974

3. Icon Elsa Peretti

Since 1969, Peretti has revolutionized jewelry with her unique designs, defying traditions. Beyond her timeless creations, I’m captivated by her workspace – an illuminated haven adorned with plants and casual objects. Her creative realm, infused with mood boards and college, reflects the brilliance of Peretti’s mind, making the journey through her career and artistry truly mesmerizing.

large oval-shaped mirror reflecting a living space

4. My Living Space

I adore a TV-free living room, encouraging a life of active engagement through creating and reading instead of passively watching. The pictured space, ideally filled with numerous plants, embodies this philosophy. The absence of a television invites a lifestyle centered around creativity and knowledge, fostering an environment where the vibrant energy of living things takes precedence.

curvaceous gold ring with a suspended diamond on a white background

5. Spannring Diamond Ring by Niessing

This unique jewelry brand, Niessing, redefines tradition with a strong focus on techniques and engineering. I find it fascinating, how they challenge conventional diamond and gemstone settings. This ring appears as if two rings are cradling the diamond, but it’s a single ring with fine arches that organically secures the gem. Niessing actually designed the first tension ring to hold a diamond without a setting over 40 years ago, the stone appearing to float freely with its sparkle glowing to all sides. Today, it counts among the great design classics and is included in many museums and collections all over the world. Personally I never fancy getting a diamond ring, but after knowing this engineering fun fact and how challenging it is to let a diamond span, I started to appreciate its clear form and resonate with the idea of focusing on the essentials in life.



Work by JUJU Studio:

modern dancers in front of a large inflated emerald green face with an open mouth

Photo: Courtesy of David Gannon Photography

Set Design for the Bad Binch TONGTONG Spring/Summer 2023 Fashion \\\ At the core of JUJU Studio’s set design stood an oversized inflatable sculpture crafted to embody the essence of the esteemed fashion designer. This centerpiece exuded mystery and creativity, breaking away from conventions by revolving around extreme self-love, creating a cult-like atmosphere. Graceful dancers moved around the larger-than-life recreation of Fashion Designer Terrence Zhou’s face, infusing the event with a captivating energy. JUJU Studio’s design epitomized their commitment to pushing boundaries, symbolizing a unique perspective and leaving an indelible impression on the fashion industry.

modern dancers in front of a large inflated emerald green face with an open mouth

Photo: Courtesy of David Gannon Photography

interior space with two large pink sofas, a silver coffee table, and large wall mirror

Photo: David Luo

Miss Circle Immersive Flagship Store in New York City \\\ Encompassing 2,600 square feet over two floors, the Sensorial Flagship Store is a visual marvel. Its inviting atmosphere is crafted through a segmented floor plan, arches, and a glamorous upper level that encourages exploration. Notable features include a versatile sliding counter and a palette of customized textured beige walls, exuding an elegant and modern aesthetic. Designed with the customer in focus, this innovative retail space captivates and engages, offering a unique Sensorial experience in every corner.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.