Just over a week ago, we had a chance to attend a vernissage of a diminutive, yet undeniably inspiring, exhibition surveying the work of 20 young contemporary Swiss designers organised by
Sachenmachen.ch. Entitled ‘feuille blanche’ – French for ‘blank page’ – the show focused on the very first, preliminary stage of a creative process and a variety of approaches adopted by each of the designers.
Working methods, which differ among various creative disciplines, have been juxtaposed with each other thus revealing a highly-imaginative, conceptual, almost artistic aspect of industrial design. A large, rectangular 40x50cm wooden board, the said feuille blanche, served as a focal point of the show, onto which each of the exhibiting designers has projected their work in a very individual, unique manner.
The participating designers include: Gabriela Chicherio, Laetitia Florin, Fries & Zumbühl, Christian Horisberger, Thai Hua, IT’S LAUBER, Tomas Kral, Nicolas Le Moigne, Loris & Livia, Laend Phuengkit, Postfossil, Laura Pregger Designlab, Adrien Rovero, Njomza Sadikaj, Andreas Saxer, Moritz Schlatter, Moritz Schmid, Fabian Schwärzler, Sibylle Stœckli, Julie Usel, Sara Vidas and ZMIK and the exhibition will remain on show at the gallery up the rock until 15 October.
Here’s how some of the designers explained the concepts behind their works:
Christian Horisberger (above):
‘Meeting friends, reflecting everyday life, and being curious about details (how things are made) – playing with correlations and coming up with simple but complex solutions – is the most important part of my work., I am interested in the challenge of merging new applications, approved techniques, know-how and formal aspects., The wooden tong like piece represents my fascination of Halbzeugs and its certain beauty, in this case – pieces of a former arm rest of a vintage chair.’
‘Ideas from everyday life, or that I derive from encounters when I travel are essential for my work. They are triggers of a trivial nature, but from them arise projects that have an intense internal driving force. These projects are developed further in my atelier in Zurich. For each theme, sketches are made, models developed and refined on computer, and presentations are prepared with the goal of convincing a suitable producer to take up, and with us, further develop the project. ‘
‘First, the eye glides over the object, considering it as a whole and in ist particular form. Then the eye fixes on a detail. And so the association of ideas takes place, and the typologic element, which makes sense, unfurls and takes on a new meaning., This is how Sibylle Stoeckli invests herself in the three dimensions which surround her. She likes to modify, with a simple detail, the perception of of an object. Always with humour, she is sensitive to the modular aspect of things, the various uses that we can give them; a freedom she also leaves to the user, proposing elements which are an invitation to interact. She’s also the director of a textile-project which is called louise blanche.’
‘Research of an ordinary form, I am fond of simple objects that accompany us every day. I like playing with material and form, searching for limits and conventions. A spoon is a utensil of this kind, but when do we recognise a shape as a spoon?, In my experiments I combine opposites as precision and imperfection, familiarities and strangeness, sequences and unique copies, industry and handcraft and coincidence and strategy. At the end a spoon is an extension of the hand, a tool to eat and to feed, an object to measure and to dig and also to look at.’
‘The situation in which a project starts is always the ground of my work. Constant observing and questioning brings it forward. In doing so I like to change the perspective from distance to focus when a colordot becomes an object or an object a colordot.’
‘I often start from approved principles, systems which interest and fascinate me, solutions which are almost forgotten, or products appealing me. I interpret, transfer, change their context, or give them new assignments purpose. In order not to loose my sources of inspiration, I continuously collect them: ideally with samples, otherwise with reference pictures, sketches or notes.’
‘My design practice is starting obviously by everyday life and the sensibility regarding our surrounding. Daily observations help me to develop new objects and projects. Sometimes called: technology transfer or „détournement d‘objets“ I like creating meeting points where the designer associates different worlds that are not supposed to meet. This means diving into unknown or less known spaces to look for unexpected things and links to create. The work „Les plaques“ for Sèvres (shown for feuille blanche) explains clearly the first „dive“ into Sèvres archive to understand the history and the context for new proposals.’
‘I always photograph people with whom I cross paths. At some point I realised that I photograph almost exclusively older people. They tend to mix clothing from several decades, perhaps because they like a particular colour, or cut, or material, or because the piece of clothing is bound to a particular history, or holds particular memories for them. They make daring combinations in their mode of dress, because they have no need to conform. Young people always want to be extremely individual – but in the end, we all look the same. The elderly are the real punks, and my greatest inspiration.’
‘The white board Postfossil shows an abstract of the project ‘Trattoria utopia’, which was shown during the furniture fair in Milan 2011. The project ventures a peek at the future, suggests possible scenarios and combines these with impossible ones. With help of the comments on the blog and the coloured threads Postfossil shows how they work together, how the project develops with the inputs of everybody and how the single objects arises.’
‘While designing a product, I‘m more interested in the first stage of creation than in the final result. For me, the object is a way to apply and exhaust what I discovered through my research. I like the beginning of a project, when the only priority is to avoid limits and open one‘s mind and senses, no matter where it will lead to. The process of imagining, picking up samples in the surrounding, creating shapes and feelings. This is the most difficult part of the birth of an item, but also the most gratifying and enriching. Then comes the less enjoyable but neverless essential part of the design process, during whitch a real object is developped and made feasible for production.’
‘The design of furniture and home accessories became a core area of my work. By closely paying attention to work processes, concepts, and goals I build up a strategy of design process. Picture of reference and inspiration lead me to a design with a strong sense of aesthetic and visual coherence., After taking a closer look, understand, comprehend and reduce to essentials I store the collected impressions in sketchbooks and photos. This way of observation and partly unconscious look at things flows into my creative process.’
‘Record and Play Life brings along a flood of information, sounds, and impressions that add up to my inspiration.’
‘Creation means for me: inhaling, tracking-down, plumbing depths, testing, analysing, revising, composing, voting. I continually collect pictures, material samples, techniques for use and re-use, texts and objects. This material is stacked on my desk and fills my archive boxes. The creation phase begins with me as pictorial images in my head, or a kind of feeling on need in my belly. I pin the chosen fragments as collages on the wall. Mostly these are haptic structures and objects that fascinate me and constitute the core of the new collection. This entire inspirational world is the background and sets the standard for the first creations on paper. , The transformation of the models to complete compositions in the collection then proceeds in parallel and in sequence with drawings, and shaping through cut and draping on busts.’
‘I experiment, usually working directly with a chosen material. In this project, I am interested in the idea of wearing the inside of the body on the outside, as a means to express my anxieties about my position in the world as an artist and a woman. This work talks about tensions and contradictions; they are flesh-like objects that look repulsive and attractive at the same time. It is an instinctive approach thus the title “gut feeling”. They challenge our own perception of what they represent.’