Jörg Boner’s development processes give rise to precise industrial products that have to stand their own on the market. Yet part of Boner’s holistic approach often involves him designing the presentation of his products at trade fairs or in temporary exhibitions himself. The result is a set of skillfully staged products and installations that are consciously abstract in tenor. They deliberately create a spatial context that addresses the specific site and thanks to the mood they exude often remain lodged in the mind.
by Sandra Hofmeister | 3/10/2016
Like the poster billboard in a movie theater, a large-format shot of Alpine peaks frames the Schätti trade-fair booth at the Swissbau and Light+Building trade fairs this year. The photo was processed by the graphic designers at Norm – dissolved into large Pixels and skillfully dyed in color. It shows the snowclad mountains in Glarus and creates a striking staged setting in which the landscape becomes part of the identity of the Swiss luminaire brand from Glarus. The surreal yellow sky means the mountain vista is transformed into an abstract backdrop for Jörg Boner’s archetypal luminaires. The space that stretches between the two walls of the trade-fair booth is dedicated to the “Eclar” standing lamp, the “Pendar” version, and the two newest product, “Circular” and “Mar”. Their refined white tubular steel sets the tone, is combined in closed ranks with a very many other vertical metal tubes of the same gauge. The result is an image reminiscent of an abstract vertical landscape. The white-spanned frame that floats above the heart of the booth reflects the light from the standing lamps and also diffuses it from above onto the product presentations, intensifying the impression of a radiant landscape in the midst of a mountain massif.
In the limelight
Just as the spotlight in a circus arena emphasizes the protagonists, the “Oyster” armchairs and sofas by Wittmann took the limelight at the Designers’ Saturday 2014. Jörg Boner placed them in his temporary staging on a dark-green circular floor made of coarse chipboard. A grid of thin, lacquered wooden slats surrounded them, offering views in and through the structure, staging the space within. The hyperbolic wood structure had an upward thrust, catching the eye on the first floor, too. Jörg Boner’s unusual presentation concept revisited an idea by Russian Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov. Boner feels much can be learned from that master of economic structures, the engineer active at the turn of the 20th century, precisely as regards economic structures requiring little material and involving low costs.
In the factory
A unique space, abstract and yet focused: for the Designers’ Saturday 2010 Jörg Boner came up with the idea of presenting a selection of his product in an intimated factory. He set about evolving the exhibition space at Mühlehof in Langenthal on the basis of a “carte blanche”. The shed-roof silhouette of the temporary space made of gray cardboard made it quite clear that it was a factory to which he wished to allude. In the small abstract interior, which was likewise completely done out in cardboard, down to the smallest of details, the selected products were especially visible, if only because of their color. Jörg Boner’s temporary concept factory took up the principle underlying the Designers’ Saturday, of displaying the works in the manufacturing facilities of the companies in Langenthal – and reflected on it in a unique way: Designers need the opportunity to participate in manufacturing processes and familiarize themselves closely with production methods in order to develop durable objects. Precisely this process is also reflected in the products that were on show in the factory. The cardboard setting abstracted the idea of the factory as a place of production and thus specifically inverted Jörg Boner’s design process – he always makes his models in cardboard. In this way the display became a conceptual design location, and breathed the spirit of future fabrication facilities.
“Manufacturing halls form an interstice located somewhere between idealization and realization, between the problem and its solution,” comments Jörg Boner. With his staging of the launch of his line of Schätti luminaires for the Designers’ Saturday 2014 he had the opportunity to flesh the idea out. For the exhibition of his LED luminaires in the works hall at Création Baumann he subdivided a cylindrically shaped space using thin Tyvek membranes. These had white surfaces that reflected the light of the LED luminaires like a diffusor and ensured it gleamed outward from inside the cylinder. A circle thus became a glowing entity that aroused visitors’ curiosity and invited them to embark on an adventure. They were able to enter the interior via wooden stairs – inside Jörg Boner had displayed the “Eclar”, “Andar”, “Pendar” and “Dri” luminaires. Additionally, he integrated a coil winding machine into the temporary installation – which won the “Gold Award” for the best staging. Normally the large machine is used in textile manufacturing – for the weekend of the Designers’ Saturday it was simply liberated from its everyday tasks and thus became an idealized object and part of the circle of phenomena.