Few people think of farmhouses, the smell of hay and factory halls, when thinking of a design show. Well, this is exactly what you get at Designer’s Saturday, the slightly different design show.
Most design shows take place in urban metropolitans such as Milan, London, Paris or New York. Not so Designer’s Saturday, which is held in Langenthal, a small town in the Swiss countryside. The town, however, has a long standing tradition in design and production and is home to manufacturers such as Ruckstuhl (carpets), Création Baumann (fabrics), Glas Trösch (glass products), Girsberger (furniture) and Hector Egger (wood manufacturing), some of which date back to the late 19th century, when Switzerland experienced an industrial revolution, in particular focused on textiles.
It is in fact the setting that makes Designer’s Saturday so unique.
You won’t find any typical ‘trade fair booths’ here, but instead you will find products set in scene in a rustic barn next to the old village mill, grand-scale installations in one of the warehouses or quirky displays at one of the production sites amidst large scale manufacturing machines.
The first Designer’s Saturday was held on a Saturday, hence the name, in 1987. What started as a small cooperation between a couple of the local factories, has turned into an important biennial design event. Which runs over 3 days now, attracting an international crowd.
This year’s event hosted more than 70 national and international brands, leading universities and design studios. The exhibitors, which are curated by the Management board and a jury of international design experts, are spread across 6 venues. If you wish to visit all the locations, which are served by shuttle buses, explore all the installations and also enjoy a drink and a snack in between, you will need to plan for a day. However, it’s a day well spent.
Everybody loves a story, more so, a true story. Ruckstuhl has created its own story with ‘Maglia’ a new carpet in their collection.
Maglia is made from Fique, a very durable and versatile fibre, which is considered the national fibre of Colombia. Traditionally this fibre was used to produce coffee bags and yarns for the agricultural industry. The fibre is spun by hand in a region called Curití and then hand knitted into carpets using large knitting needles. Each piece is unique, available in neutral as well as vibrant colour combinations. Due to the length of the needles and the weight of the material the women knit pieces of about 50 x 200 cm, which are then skillfully sewn together to create a full size carpet.
If you missed this year’s Designer’s Saturday and don’t have the patience to wait for another two years, you may wish to take part in the Design Tour Langenthal, featuring factory and showroom tours and giving you a glimpse into the world of manufacturing. As an interior designer, I love to understand and see how products are made. So I’ll definitely be back.