by Adam Štěch
As part of Vienna Design Week—which concludes this Saturday, 5 October—French-Swiss designers Bertille Laguet and Mathieu Rohrer (Bertille & Mathieu) are currently collaborating with iconic glassware and lighting company Lobmeyr. And Leonid Rath of Lobmeyr says, "They are as sweet as their project."
Now in its seventh edition, the event—curated by Tulga Beyerle and Lilli Hollein—is highlighted every year with its Passionswege program, which connects traditional Vienna-based producers, craftsmen and stores with an international crowd of emerging designers. "The project is great. It is a platform for our own reflection and possibility to experiment. We participated since beginning," says Rath, who—with his cousins—runs the Vienna-based glassware manufacturer that was founded in 1823 by his ancestors.
Famous for their decadent crystal and brass chandeliers for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Lobmeyr has collaborated with many young experimental designers in past years. During Passionswege, Lobmeyr worked with Maxim Velčovský, Max Lamb, Martino Gamper, Mark Braun and Philippe Malouin. "In the last years we have focused part of our production on design and production of simple, yet contemporary pieces for everyday use. But on the other hand, the experiments with Passionswege give us great possibility to look at our identity with the new perspective," adds Rath.
This year, Lobmeyr participates again; collaborating with Lausanne-based design duo Bertille & Mathieu, who recently finished their studies at ECAL. Bertille & Mathieu were selected by Vienna Design Week to reinterpret Lobmeyr's products and heritage in the new way. The duo created the concept of Lobmeyr Experimental Sweet Factory, based on the production of sweets and candies with the imprints of famous Lobmeyr pieces. For 10 days, the designers set up a production line inside the Lobmeyr's central Vienna store, where they produce different candies from scratch. The treats come in all shapes, sizes and flavors—bergamot, cinnamon and chestnut—and come in packaging that has been designed exclusively for the collection.
"We boil the syrup with flavors and then serve. As the sweet substance hardens, we are imprinting some iconic Lobmeyr pieces into it," describe Bertille & Mathieu of the process. The imprints include everything from Adolf Loos's No. 248 drinking set designed in 1931, to some familiar parts of spectacular historical chandeliers. With this project, the designers encourage people to perceive glass differently. Says Rath, "Glass is tactile. When we drink, we touch the glass by hands as well as lips. Sweets from Bertille & Mathieu can mediate the tactile qualities of glass in total new, sweet and funny way."
Photos by Adam Štěch