Vienna Design Week 2013: Passionswege – Oscar Wanless @ Riess Email

It seems somehow fitting that our first post from Vienna Design Week 2013 should be from a Passionswege project. Passionswege is after all one of the major attractions for us of Vienna Design Week.

For anyone new, or who has mistakenly stumbled across us, Passionswege is a programme within Vienna Design Week that pairs young designers with long established handicraft based manufacturers to develop a product/project that combines the tradition of the manufacturer with the new perspective supplied by the young blood.

Whereas, as far as we are aware, until now the Passionswege programme has restricted itself to cooperations with Viennese firms, for 2013 the organisers have cast their net a little wider.

145km wider to be precise to the town of Ybbsitz in Lower Austria and the enamel goods maker Riess.

Principally a manufacturer of kitchen goods, so pans, bowls, baking trays/tins and the like, Riess also produce the street signs for numerous cities including, happily, Vienna. And now furniture and tableware.

At least temporarily.

For Passionswege 2013 Riess were paired with the British designer Oscar Wanless.

Oscar was also involved with Vienna Design Week 2012 when together with his business/creative partner Attua Aparicio and the London based designer Bethan Wood they created a pavilion as part of the “Labor” programme.

If we remember correctly we weren’t at all impressed with the pavilion and wandered off quite quickly.

Not so with the cooperation with Riess this year. Which is just an absolute delight.

Technically two projects Oscar Wanless has used the materials, machines and experience of Riess to create a furniture family featuring a table, a chair and shelves and a tableware family featuring a series of plates, bowls and beakers. And because it makes perfect sense the two projects have been fused into one and are being presented in a coffee house themed presentation. Which is obviously all very Viennese.

For us the highpoint of the project is the table and chairs. Created from various pressed enamel components and died with the same material used for street signs, the objects combine a wonderfully unique yet instantly appealing form language with a physical form reminiscent of works by Jean Prouve, Gerrit T. Rietveld or perhaps most fittingly Josef Hoffmann’s 1905 Sitting Machine for J. & J. Kohn, Vienna.
As we say, just delightful.

The bowls, plates and beakers have a nice rustic appearance, are very modern and while yes they work excellently with the table and chairs will guaranteed also work very well on their own. And in that sense probably represent the best chance for transforming the Passionswege project into a commercial project.

That isn’t necessarily the aim of Passionswege. But is obviously desirable. For all sides.

A few impressions.

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