VDW16: Vienna Design Week Celebrates 10 Years

Celebrating 10 years of “a city full of design”, Vienna Design Week’s main venue was the neoclassical former cabinet making workshop, the Bothe & Ehrmann Exhibition Halls, once responsible for producing furniture for the Austrian monarchy. For ten days in October, it was instead filled with contemporary design and challenging ideas. And across the city, anywhere that you spotted the white chair above, was more design to explore.


The star of the show was Prologue, a collaboration between Fredrikson Stallard and Swarovski comprising 8,000 topaz-colored Swarovski crystal droplets, which were indivually strung into place by hand. “Created to mimic the shimmering sun, its circular form is both a powerful representation of new beginnings and an abstract symbol of life and rebirth,” said a statement from Swarovski.


The same 10 designers who participated in a similar exhibition at the first Vienna Design Week were invited into the Hofmobiliendepot (Imperial Furniture Collection) and invited to create responses to their chosen piece within the collection, under the title Viribus Unitis (Join Forces – the motto of Emperor Franz Joseph) to present the exhibition RE-DESIGN10. The response above is by Patrick Rampelotto.


In ‘City Shades: Vienna, Moscow, New York,’ Prague-based artist Maxim Velčovsky has created each city’s skyline from parts of chandeliers and tumblers by Viennese crystal manufacturer Lobmeyr in silhouette, using the principles of shadow theatre.


Feinedinge’s Raw collection is made from each month’s waste clay, meaning that the color is never the same twice, ranging from delicate rose tint, through blue-grey, grey-green to dark earthy shades. It is glazed on the inside only and completely dishwasher safe.


MAG DES DING (Love This Thing) was an exhibition by 12 female University of Applied Arts graduates (who share the title MAG DES IND), in which they each created an object inspired by something from another female industrial designer. Petite Vanité is a refillable, customizable product suite designed by Jessica Covi for Unilever to reflect women’s unique morning rituals. It was inspired by Marianne Brandt’s 1924 cigarette holder – an exercise in simplifying form.


Japanese knotweed is an invasive species in Slovenia. This project, by Ljubljana-based collective Re-generacija, seeks to find alternative uses for the waste bio-material produced by its clearance. Two tons of dry Japanese knotwood stems were converted into 400kg of paper, which was turned into products from notebooks and bags to paper filled with seeds, designed to decompose when they grew.


For a few days during Vienna Design Week, the workplace of upcoming tile manufacturer Karak became an open co-working space. Visitors were invited to cover the studio’s white tiles one after the other with hand-drawn motifs, joining the quest for new geometric forms.


Morag Myerscough created a site specific installation using her trademark colorful approach to typography for the Vienna Design Week venue, entitled Planet, People, Place, intended to give a sense of scale and perspective to the place in which visitors found themselves when viewing the work.


Finally Mischer’Traxler’s Slow comprised a pendulum swinging over a multi-layered surface made of custom-designed MDF containing paper pulp, sawdust, glue and a series of different pigments. As the pendulum wore away the surface, it revealed the different colors of the layers below, creating a decorative element within what was to become the tabletop of ‘Isochrone’ – the finished product.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.