Fluctuations in the price of gold
by Martina Metzner
Sep 20, 2015

Parisian charm and Viennese wit, it’s all here this year. Indeed, for Vienna Design Week, taking place from September 25 to October 4, the team headed by festival curator Lilli Hollein has chosen France as its guest country. A whole raft of events are planned, such as the exhibition “The Future of the Past – Design as Reinventing Process” at Palais Clam Gallas, home to the French Institute in Vienna, and the “20 Icons of French Design” show at the festival headquarters. Moreover, in the context of the “Passionswege” project young designers will be teaming up with companies to demonstrate ways in which future and tradition can be fused.

Turning to this year’s “Favoriten” focus district, it offers an opportunity to take a closer look at a rather unknown urban quarter of Vienna – which promises to be interesting not only for outsiders, as the festival guide emphasizes. Incidentally, the guide offers a good overview of the roughly 150 events in the areas of graphic, product, furniture, industrial, experimental and social design, as well as architecture.

The hub of the design week is the festival headquarters in the “Brotfabrik”, a former bread factory in the 10th district, Favoriten. Not only will the guest country France be presented in its own building in the historical factory complex with its brick and ferroconcrete edifices, but FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences in Graz will also be exhibiting works from its design programs in the context of the “Debut” festival format. Anyone interested in the city and mobility is advised to take a look at the projects created for this year’s “Future Urban Mobility” initiative in Vienna. The project “New Austrian Design” revolves around archetypal furniture like the farmhouse cupboard and divan and involves designers coming together with the Interio company to create new interpretations of these pieces.

The “Laboratory” at the festival headquarters sheds light on the work processes of 20 designers from the “Favoriten” focus district under the motto “Viennese (Hi)Stories”, including Viennese architects heri&salli, who recently caused a stir with their “Office Off” building in the state of Burgenland. In the context of the talks to be held at the “Brotfabrik”, among others, German curator Oliver Elser is set to discuss his view of the topic of “Concrete – Brutalism – a misunderstanding?”

That design can also provide answers to pressing social questions is evident from the projects grouped under the heading of “Stadtarbeit” (city work). For instance, when Caritas invites festival participants to cook with migrants under the theme of “New Local”.

Once again this year, the “Passionswege” are sure to serve up some of the highlights of Vienna Design Week for most visitors. Top-class collaborations between international or local creative professionals and Viennese firms will be ready to draw admiration at seven stations in the 1st District and in Favoriten. The charming thing is that the objects and installations are to be presented on site in workshops and on company premises. The cooperation between young Viennese designer Klemens Schillinger (News&Stories New Delivery of April 16, 2015) and jewelry manufacturer A. E. Köchert promises to be a special treat. For the former Imperial and Royal court jeweler, located in the center of Vienna directly on Neuer Markt, Schillinger is using different-sized pieces of jewelry to depict the fluctuations in the price of gold over the last 50 years. In contrast, Laureline Galliot and Backhausen are interested in textiles: The young French designer has transferred her Expressionistic drawings to curtains and other products of the home textiles supplier. They will be on show in the main hall of the Austrian Postal Savings Bank building designed by Otto Wagner at Georg Coch Platz 2.

Beyond the curated program there will be numerous exhibitions, lectures, workshops and installations. Such as the “Window Gallery” show by smart textiles designer Ebru Kubrak, a Viennese of Turkish origin, at Stilwerk, where she will show her “wardrobe for resistance”. The Imperial Furniture Collection has also spruced itself up and is set to present previously unseen designs by Josef Frank. And anyone who missed the “Vienna Biennale” earlier this year can make up for it by visiting “Ideas for Change” at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK). The exhibition complex examines the question as to what role design will play in everyday urban life in the future.

The Viennese duo Mischer’Traxler much acclaimed in past years is taking part again, this time with not one, but two exhibitions. Firstly Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler have concerned themselves with endangered species of moths at “Kunst Haus Wien Museum Hundertwasser”, and secondly they are showing their “Ephemera” table at the festival headquarters, on which an artificial floral arrangement moves in response to observers passing by.

A number of stars from the worlds of design and architecture will also be in attendance in Vienna. While Dutch designer Hella Jongerius will be holding court in the Vitra showroom at Schottenring 12 on Friday, September 25, that same evening Swarovski is inviting British architect John Pawson to Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, where he will open his exhibition “Perspectives”.

The only thing really missing now is the culinary delights that make any trip to Vienna complete. And here the organizers of Vienna Design Week have come up with a truly mouthwatering idea: Each evening at Restaurant Kronberger in the Oberlaa quarter, the “Vienna Design Cook” format will see creative professionals at the stove – a special treat, but one you won't be able to enjoy without a prior reservation.

The full program for Vienna Design Week >>>

From September 25 to October 4, 2015
Daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday September 26 until 9 p.m.

Festival headquarters at Brotfabrik Wien
10th District, Absberggasse 27, Vienna