process

Environmental Responsibility- a sustainable object evolves out of a lot of different aspects - it’s not just a question of the material itself whether a product is more or less sustainable. 

It all started when Nicola Stattmann asked us to create a chair. Nicola embodies Stattmann Furniture, a furniture collection which is locally produced, 100km around the company itself.

For us, the environmental responsibility is one of the most important aspects of the design process. When it comes to such an approach it's always important to look at the product and the whole production process holistically. The CURV chair is mostly out of the mono material solid wood. Even if this material is the closest product next to a grown tree, it doesn’t necessary mean that it is sustainable. The process, the wood went through is really deciding. One could get solid wood from far away with a lot of pesticides, and then the material even if it is a sustainable one suddenly isn’t sustainable any more.

Another important aspect is to look precisely at the details, the chair’s stopper are made out of natural caoutchouc and the dowels which are often out of steel are made out of cotton within the CURV chair. In the end the wood’s finish is also really deciding. Stattmann Furniture uses biodegradable water-based stains which are sealed with a biological wax applied by hand.

Next to all hard sustainable facts, one of the most important things for us is visual sustainability. Visual sustainability describes the fact that you don’t throw an object away before it’s not completely worn. Our aim was to create familiar aspects, which have a modern character at the same time. We are searching for a formal presence within a special character by avoiding a spacial dominance within an assembly. In the best case the result is, that one doesn’t get tired of looking at it, because these aspects create something interesting, which is the best base for a visual sustainability.

The half-life of a product is the most deciding point when it comes to environmental responsibility. When you only use a product for a very short time, it can be designed as sustainable as possible but it never will be.

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What will eventually emerge from these models is a penholder. When it is finished, it will stick to the work wall with a magnet. The container provides storage space for writing utensils.

The product can be used either as a tool on the work wall or as an accessory on the desk. The cup is eventually meant to hold wipeable marker pens at large conferences and seminars as well as in ordinary offices. Like any design, this one begins with assertions. What you need is a feel for the object. An understanding of the conditions. An inkling of what it ultimately might become. The concrete goal emerges in the process. In an ideal case, the process clarifies the goal. Full of ambiguities, full of anticipations, full of aspirations. The crucial developments take place here. In that moment when the idea tips over into the material world. In that moment when the idea can finally be tested. In that moment when the idea begins to take shape. The challenge is to stay with it and to lead it in the right direction. The objects in grey carton illustrate that stage. They are a reflection of that process. Somewhere between sketch and product. These can be some of the best moments in the studio.

The pen cup is both a tool and an accessory. As a tool it has its function in collaborative processes. Here it serves as a penholder on the work wall of the Moving Walls. That is what it was developed for. The pen cup has two main customers. On the one hand the Swiss company Moving Walls, on the other hand the American company Idea Paint. Moving Walls is the producer of the work wall, while Idea Paint develops paint for whiteboards. This situation led to the idea of a dual use for the cups. In its second function the pen cup becomes a desk accessory. In that case the cup attaches to its counterpart with magnets. Thus the cups form containers for writing utensils and other items that are typically found on a desk. In terms of typology, they combine the cylindrical aspect of a quiver with a flat surface. Each cup attaches either to another cup or to the work wall.

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For me, the chairs by the Swiss designers Max Bill, Bruno Rey, Edlef Bandixen and Hans Eichenberger from the 1950s to 1970s have always stood out as milestones.

They are characterised by a clear attitude towards the economy of materials and production as well as a high standard of beauty. About a year ago we were asked by Atelierpfister to design a new Swiss wooden chair. The greatest challenge in the development of this chair was responding to the economic conditions. The task was to achieve the best possible balance between the targeted sales price and the design requirements. The question was how we could develop a chair that was not only beautiful, intelligent, and extremely well constructed, but which also had a sensational sales price. This is the ‚royal discipline‘ of design! At stake is the democratisation of well designed objects, made available to the largest possible number of people. That is why this project has been an important challenge for me. We spent the last few months working on this new wooden chair. In doing so we tried to learn from the qualities of the Swiss designers mentioned above, whom I hold in high esteem, and on that basis we tried to develop a language of our own.

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Is it possible to design a functional product while using less material than if it didn’t exist at all? Is it possible to leave out material and create something graceful that serves a function?

That is the question which has been driving us for more than a year. We engaged with it intensely because we felt that the time was right to tackle these issues. The architects Meier Leder from Baden are building a house in which this project is being implemented. It is primarily about holes and gaps. Even the simple question of the shape and quality of the hole already stimulates an interest beyond purely formal considerations. The project will soon be cast. It will be our most radical contribution to the world of objects so far.

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Atmosphere is created in the relationship between space, product, and people. It is part of my interest in the product to develop and define that atmosphere.

In late 2014 the collection of Schätti Lamps was shown on the occasion of the Designers’ Saturday. This event takes place every other year in the production halls of companies in and around Langenthal, Switzerland. Any appearance in the context of the Designers’ Saturday is designed to highlight not only the collection but also the venue of the host. Schätti Lamps was presented in the workshops of the textile company Création Baumann. The lamps returned to the production halls, the place of origin of things. Production halls represent something like the space between idealisation and realisation, between problem and solution. They are the space where technology and expression are united. In an ideal case, they are condition and possibility for each other.

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Recently we finished our latest product for the company ewo from South Tyrol. Ideally, design is a collaboration between all the parties involved.

Product design is an applied design task. That is exactly what stimulates my interest in this profession: to achieve the best possible result from the existing conditions. Of course I also question functions that initially seem to be a given. It was like that with the lamp GO. When I looked at a lamp from below I noticed that for ewo the interior of the lamps is actually quite important. Because the great quality of the company lies in its engineering, in its highly developed technology. In a sense, the optical lenses are the heart of ewo. That is what we wanted to show. And that is why we tried to avoid simply screwing the lenses in from below. Instead, we wanted to treat them like a gem, to present them on a velvet cushion, so to speak. That is the core of this new lamp design. The external shape follows this idea in all its implications.

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Flowers are not part of our core competence.

But when it came to motivating the City of Lausanne to provide a field of flowers for its citizens, my interest was stimulated. On the other hand, it is not a city’s main task to get people to pick flowers and give them to someone. But still. The gesture did have its effects.

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