Courage to make a new start

Susanna Koeberle • 16.03.2018

Design Days from western Switzerland are re-positioning themselves after ten years. The tenth edition of the design event therefore took place for the first time as part of the «Habitat Jardin» trade fair. We sent our writer Susanna Koeberle to Lausanne and asked her to give an assessment. Her three highlights as «Best of» in this year’s event.

It’s the aim of Design Days to showcase design in all its many forms. Manufacturers, young brands, universities of applied sciences, design galleries, furniture stores, discussion sessions and presentations were on the agenda for this event, which alternates between Geneva and Lausanne. For its tenth anniversary Design Days have now agreed a new partnership with the «Habitat Jardin» trade fair. This is a risk – because the Swiss are known for tending to accept change reluctantly. The first event at the new site is therefore also on a much smaller scale than usual: Many manufacturers and businesses stayed away from the new arrangement. They wanted to wait and see how the new format turns out. However, the main ingredients were nevertheless represented: Namely a selection of local brands, an overview of current trends and platforms to exchange opinions.

Highlight 1: Raphaël Lutz

His mission statement «local and hand-crafted» is not just empty words. When Raphaël Lutz explains his philosophy, it immediately becomes apparent that what he represents makes sense. He neatly divides his three areas of activity into three websites – everything must be neat and tidy. His custom-made tables stand paradigmatically for his attitude towards design: He designs rectilinear products, which last a long time. Each table is an individual piece and is made locally. The size, material and shape can be determined by customers using an app he has developed himself. In «Le LAB», his second mainstay, he has prescribed “Design Thinking” and offers workshops for companies there. While the company «Le Généraliste» provides tangible help with interior decoration. A convincing image for such a young designer.

Highlight 2: Flair

Trend is an ominous word, but to put it in a nutshell: Trends label changes. And they are taking place increasingly quickly. The «Flair» exhibition provides a selective view of current flows, which are leaving their mark on design. Both the curators Virginie Le Moigne (My Playground) and Patricia Lunghi (Espaces Contemporains) have intuitively sought ten sources of inspiration, which today reflect trends and attitudes to life. Two sociological flows – «Extreme Fluidity» versus «Over the Top» – provide a framework for the topics and define how we handle the challenges of our time. Using simple methods, «Flair» provides a personal and yet meaningful view of the present day.

Highlight 3: Intelligent materials

Design is the combination of a material and idea. It’s precisely in the development of new, «intelligent» materials that a lot is happening today. Another reason to incorporate such inventions in a design event. Four speakers presented their work in collaboration with the Design Prize Switzerland Alain Reymond from Laufen spoke about «SaphirKeramik» (sapphire ceramics), Vera Gail from Schoeller about the heatable textile «E-soft-shell», Beat Karrer focussed on «FluidSolids», a material developed from biological waste, and Dominic Schlögel from Studio Christophe Gubéran reported on various approaches to re-thinking materials. Here this sounds a long way off.

Photography: Elise Heuberger, Susanne Koeberle, Raphaël Lutz