At the risk of starting a tradition we can’t maintain, and so ultimately leading us to disappoint a lot of readers, again, it is becoming tradition that our first post from Vienna Design Week concerns a Passionswege project.
Largely because Passionswege is one of the principle reasons we come to Vienna, and so it seems fitting to begin our time in Vienna with the Passionswege programme. But also considering Passionswege is the seed from which Vienna Design Week grew, it just seems respectful.
Passionswege 2014 sees six design studios paired with six established, traditional, Viennese producers and will result, we hope, in six enjoyable projects.
Having viewed Amsterdam based BCXSY’s project with crystal manufacturer J. & L. Lobmeyr we know there will beat least one enjoyable project.
As Vienna Design Week co-founder and former co-organiser Tulga Beyerle told us earlier this year J. & L. Lobmeyr were one of the first companies to agree to participate in the Passionswege programme and have been an ever present feature since 2006, and their positive attitude towards the platform generally inspires those designers assigned to them to produce interesting work.
Starting point for Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto aka BCXSY was J & L Lobmeyr’s tradition and for all the passion and attention to detail the company puts into their products – even though they are, largely, intended for everyday use.
Combing these two threads BCXSY developed a set of glasses which thanks to their generous curves and opposing geometries can nestle together in unity. Inspired by the Biedermeier “friendship glasses” that J & L Lobmeyr created in the mid 19th-century the tumblers remind us that not only is drinking alone no fun, being with someone who compliments, extends and completes you is a lot more satisfying. It’s an easy analogy but one that is always worth repeating and which BCXSY handle very pleasingly.
Less pleasing is the name of the product: J & L Tumblers, as in J(oy) & L(ove) Tumblers, but let’s assume that in keeping with the finest tradition of Arab art that is a deliberate imperfection.
In a nice change this year J & L Lobmeyr’s Passionswege project isn’t being presented in the compay’s city centre store but rather in their workshop facility a little outside the centre. Although the background idea is that the workshop stands in Vienna’s Landstrasse district, which is the focus district of Vienna Design Week 2014; the great advantage is that it allows visitors the chance to have a quick peak behind the scenes at Lobmeyr and experience the brass repair workshop, grinding and engraving first hand. And to talk to the staff. As such not only did BCXSY get the chance to explore and experience the history and tradition of J. & L. Lobmeyr, but they are giving everyone the chance.
Although not a project that is necessarily going to set the world on fire, it is a perfect example of the background thinking behind the Passionswege programme: helping a traditional company find new perspectives, explore new ideas and, possibly, a new product while at the same time allowing a young design studio both a platform and, ideally, the chance to work with new materials and/or new processes and in a situation that posses new challenges.