Artists have for centuries been provoking and challenging our thinking and our view of society, often bringing about change.
Designers create a better world by improving the status quo – sometimes by creating a new product or service, but more often than not, by improving existing ones.
The designers of Stolz & Demut have torn down the barriers between art and design and created two design objects, both challenging perception, both inviting interaction. Blattler have been part of this process for the last six years, helping perfect the outcome. The objects are beautiful to behold and intriguing to experience.
A floating wing-shaped chaise longue crafted of solid wood and steel. Stolz is German for pride – and Bartholdi + Hörr can indeed be proud of their achievement. It also is a contraction of Stahl (steel) and Holz (wood), the only two materials used to create Stolz.
A prototype was first presented in 2000 and since then the piece has been perfected. It should be impossible to craft the wood in the way the two designers have. "The challenge here was not to compromise”, explain the Bartholdi and Hörr. “If we were to create a chaise longue, it could have been a much easier process. We would have worked with laminate wood that is easy to bend, but that’s not what we set out to do”. The piece is as much a celebration of Swiss craftsmanship as it is a joy to look at. The shape is clean, crisp, yet soft, a natural flow. And if ever you have the chance actually to sit on one, it will be an experience to remember. Stolz is created as a limited edition of 12 pieces, making it truly exclusive.
Standing tall and proud one minute and bowing, humble the next. Demut explores feelings of humility and humbleness.
"We all have a purpose and we all serve that purpose. Being proud, holding our head up high is a positive, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t be humble at the same time. Pride without humility is arrogance" say Bartholdi + Hörr.
Interacting with Demut is an experience. A magnetic copper weight is attached directly to the wood, making the light bend more or less depending on the position of the weight.
The craftsmanship is outstanding, and again the two artists explore uncharted territory. To get the wood to bend and take the strain of the weight proved extremely challenging. Getting a magnet to stick to wood is, of course, an illusion, but the effect on the audience is simply disbelief.
Demut is produced in a limited edition of 12 pieces only.
Emerging Swiss design exhibitions are presented at the umlaut¨ gallery space on Fashion Street, off Brick Lane in London.
Emerging graphic design, product design, design theory and research, digital design and contemporary making are given a platform in a not-for-profit framework.
This initiative was taken to give the vibrant, innovative design movement in Switzerland a presence in the context of one of the world’s leading cultural cities, examining the scope of contemporary design questions and approaches, and establishing an intercultural dialogue between Swiss designers and the London public.
This series of design exhibitions is the result of a close collaboration between the Swiss Cultural Fund UK (SCF) and the British-Swiss marketing agency Blattler Ltd.
Gallery opening times: weekdays from 9am to 5pm.