3 Highlights from the Design Biennale Zurich
For the fourth time, the Old Botanical Garden in Zurich will become a design mecca. From sculptures made from discarded quarry waste to a mobile solar oven - it's worth a visit.
The fourth edition of the Design Biennale Zürich opened on 1 September. Until 19 September, you can explore different installations in the Old Botanical Garden that revolve around this year's motto "Shift". Swinging benches, curtains made from old awnings blowing in the wind and stools made from parachutes that once flew: These are just three of fifteen ideas by young Swiss designers who have dedicated themselves to small and big changes.
1. A fresh breeze with old textiles
Laurent Hermann Progin has questioned how we can use materials and recycle used fabrics from old sun blinds. Usually, they end up in the rubbish as soon as the edges are damaged. Yet they are waterproof and very robust. To preserve them, the Zurich native assembles even the smallest remnants into a new curtain, playing with colours and patterns.
The Zurich artist attaches the curtains to a pergola so that they become a temporary space in the open air. "Visitors can also pause for a moment," says Laurent. While they walk between the colourful fabric panels, they can still look outside - the gaps that are created between the panels during weaving allow this. At the same time, light and air can penetrate. For his installation, the fashion designer goes back to the traditional weaving technique and applies it on a new scale. In doing so, he transfers techniques from the fashion industry to the interior design sector.
2. A look into space on old wheels
Designing products, furniture and spaces that create familiar yet unconventional narratives is what designer Livia Lauber sets out to do when she designs. Her installation "Round & Round -Thinking on circularity" for the Design Biennale also combines the familiar with the new. It consists of five different stools made from old tractor tyres and finished with different covers. Among them: a robust paraglider that used to float through the air. Or climbing ropes that once kept people from free-falling.
The experimental stools do not represent a finished product, but rather convey the many possible applications of circular design principles. "The ultimate goal of a closed material cycle is to avoid waste by continuing to use products and materials for as long as possible," says Livia. The traditional upholstery industry uses a lot of foam and adhesives that prevent the reuse of individual components. That's why she uses materials and techniques that allow effortless removal of the covers from the tyre.
At the same time, the seating furniture is meant to invite people to linger and engage with nature, says the designer. "Once the thirst for knowledge is quenched and one lies relaxed on one of the circular loungers, one's gaze slides up to the sky, which we share with numerous fellow human beings and other living creatures."
3. A recyclable three-in-one solution
Actually, Yael Anders designs small ceramic objects, stationery, jewellery and illustrative works. For the Design Biennale, she has for the first time designed a piece of furniture that, with a "shift", turns from a bench or hammock into a swing. It consists of a recyclable metal frame and a fabric panel made from Bananatex - a fabric made from the naturally grown abacá banana plants. "There is an undulating movement through the seat that changes the positions of everyone present," says Yael. "The more people who sit on the bench made of fabric, the greater the 'shift' that is felt throughout the body."
The dynamic bench is meant to relate visitors to each other so that they can experience the meaning of the "Common Grounds". It symbolises collectively used spaces and is intended to help gather ideas about topics such as the use of public space. That is why there is also a QR code on the sign next to it. This takes those sitting there to a website that encourages discussion. The illustrator later combines the comments, pictures or drawings left behind in a collective mood board.
The Design Biennale is an important part of the largest Swiss design festival "Zurich Design Weeks", where studios and shops open their doors or established brands as well as newcomers exhibit their work. More information on the varied programme, guided tours and workshops can be found on the website. . Titelfoto: Pia Seidel
Like a cheerleader, I love celebrating good design and bringing you closer to everything furniture- and interior design- related. I regularly curate simple yet sophisticated interior ideas, report on trends and interview creative minds about their work.