Cartier ‘Precious Garage’ Pop-Up in Seattle: They Nailed It

Cartier Precious Garage pop-up in Seattle

The Cartier Precious Garage popup made its stop in Seattle. The traveling art exhibit and full sensory experience honors Cartier’s incredible ability to create something luxuriously cheeky and unexpected.

The traveling ‘Precious Garage’ exhibit, aside from being an incredible art exhibit, is to show off Cartier’s new pieces in their Juste Un Clou and Ècrou de Cartier collections. Cartier’s collection is inspired by the nail, nuts, and bolts—celebrating the ordinary parts that put together our buildings, and our lives, in an extraordinary way.

The Cartier ‘Juste Un Clou’ collection gives me goosebumps—the concept is simple: a nail (an every day object) crafted in exquisite gold to create something surprising and delightful. Aldo Cipullo designed the ‘Juste un Clou’ bracelet in 1971 to make the nail into a jewel with a subtle curve. Cipullo, who also designed the screwed-on Cartier LOVE bracelet, was enthralled with nuts, bolts, screws, and hardware. The ‘Juste Un Clou’ (which means just a nail in French) been highly successful in luxury jewelry for its minimalist yet edgy design, released in white gold, yellow gold, and pink gold.

The new collection for Cartier is an ode to the success of ‘Juste Un Clou’… the new ‘Ecrou de Cartier’ is inspired by nuts and bolts. The pieces are designed to resemble a circular bolt and adorable with movable and stationary nuts.

Cartier’s collections feel avant- garde, free-spirited and unexpected in a typically stuffy luxury jewelry market (some women just don’t want flowers pavèd in diamonds, sorry I’m not sorry).

Cartier Juste Un Clou Nail Bracelets and Ecour Nuts and Bolts Bracelets

The Precious Garage was designed for Cartier by powerhouse visual artist and creative director Desi Santiago, featuring hammers, engine parts, wheels, tires, and oil tanks dripping in gold and black.   There were two shipping containers staged in a small open area of the Fremont Mischief Distillery. One was retrofitted with two rooms: one with a floor-to-ceiling installation of glossy gold-dipped hammers and wrenches; the other with glossy gold mechanic parts.

The main exhibit is the first-ever traveling pop-up experience by Cartier, featuring an interactive display of its high-end luxe jewelry inside a gold shipping container. Once a visitor waits inline, they’re told “follow the lights” and enter a pitch-black room with timed lights to encourage a get-in-and-get-out experience for its viewers. I thought the lighting was motion activated, but soon realized that it was timed. By the time I realized this, I attempted to put my phone down during the exhibit to try to really enjoy it, but I had got caught up in the moment trying to document it instead. The goal is to immerse the viewer in the moment to enjoy each high-end piece for just a few seconds. Desi Santiago created an incredible experience.

Cartier Precious Garage pop-up in Seattle
Cartier 'Precious Garage' #FollowTheClou pop-up in Seattle
Cartier 'Precious Garage' #FollowTheClou pop-up in Seattle

I had the opportunity to try on items from the new ‘Juste un Clou’ and ‘Écrou de Cartier’ collections. I opted to try on rings from each collection: a pink gold Just un Clou ring which I loooooooved, and an Écrou de Cartier, which felt heavy on my small finger because of the nuts, but I imagine it would make a really good statement ring.

Cartier Juste Un Clou and Ecrou de Cartier Rings

This experience was one of the coolest things I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy. Not only was it put on by one of my favorite luxury brands, Cartier, but it was about one of my favorite things: fine jewelry. For years, my passion has been in accessories and fine jewelry… clothes have never interested me much, but the art of accessorizing gets me going. Accessories and jewelry ALWAYS fit you, no matter what size or shape you are. Fine jewelry is wearable art, especially from a brand like Cartier who truly has created something magnificent.  It’s how we decorate ourselves. You can wear a boring outfit, but adding jewelry and a handbag instantly makes you look like you’re actually put together.

If you have an opportunity to see the ‘Precious Garage’ exhibit by Cartier, I highly recommend it.

Becca Risa Luna

Seattle-based fashion writer and personal essayist. Likes designer handbags, glaring openness, and subtle vulgarity.

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