At Designers’ Saturday it’s not so much about the product itself, but about the experience created with the product. We are not just shown a chair, we are invited to experience the chair and its story and learn more about the brand’s identity and philosophy. This year there was a general playfulness throughout the entire show, which created a very relaxed and convivial atmosphere amongst visitors.
Designers’ Saturday, which I like to refer to as the slightly different design show is living proof of one of my favourite quotes, which says: ‘You can’t use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.’ (Maya Angelou). Imagination and creativity are truly endless! As someone who works in the design industry, I can only imagine the amount of work, but also the amount of fun that go into bringing these fantastic design installations to life.
Explore 19th century factories
Unlike other design shows, Designers’ Saturday doesn’t take place in some metropolitan city, but in a small village named Langenthal (literally: long valley) in the Bernese countryside. However, it is no coincidence that Langenthal was chosen as a venue. The village holds a long standing tradition in quality furniture, carpet and fabric manufacturing that date back to the late 19th century and is home to the factories of Ruckstuhl (carpets), Création Baumann (fabrics), Glas Trösch (glass products), Girsberger (furniture) and Hector Egger (wood manufacturing).
The making of design
The show originally took place on a Saturday, hence the name, but now runs over 3 days, the first day being the preview day for trade visitors only. Designers’ Saturday takes place every 2 years and turns Langenthal into a Swiss design mecca for those in the know. This year was the 16th edition of the show and it was held under the topic ‘The making of design’. The majority of exhibitors during this year’s edition were Swiss design companies. Promoting and fostering local design is a trend I had already observed at the London Design Festival recently.
Make it a day trip
As you walk through the factory halls and warehouses you get a glimpse into the manufacturing process, such as fabric and carpet weaving and also experience numerous other furniture, lighting and design companies that have created their own little world within those buildings. The industrial look of the halls creates a very unique backdrop and their size allows for massive installations. Each factory as well as some old stables in the city center become home to more than 70 national and international brands and design schools for 3 days. Shuttle buses will move people from one location to the next. Given the dimensions of and distances between the venues, you will need a full day to truly immerse yourself and explore the entire show. This year’s show attracted more than 15’000 visitors to the sleepy town of Langenthal.
Let your inner child play
Designers’ Saturday is an experience for the senses, a place where you can allow your inner child to play and forget about the outside world for a day. This year I noticed a theme for chairs and sofas turned into swings (Dietiker and Sattler Lighting) and a carousel (Intertime) as well as plenty of other humorous interpretations. The wood manufacturer Horgen Glarus for example used wood cut-offs to create large-scale movable imaginary creatures! Having re-discovered the fun of playgrounds with my adorable 1-year old niece lately, I was more than happy to take a break on comfortable chairs and sofas, disguised as adult size swings and carousels!
Interactive, fun and playful
At this show you are invited to truly experience design in a fun and playful way. You are encouraged to interact, engage and sometimes even contribute, which is what makes Designers’ Saturday so unique.
The exhibitors of Designers’ Saturday are split into four categories and within each there is a bronze, silver and gold award to be won. The winners are selected by a jury and an international panel of judges.
Design in the making
In case you missed this year’s Designers’ Saturday, you may want to mark it in your calendar for November 2018. If you can’t wait that long then you can always participate in one of the Langenthal Design Tours, which is an official factory tour giving you a glimpse behind the scenes of design in the making. Personally, I always find it fascinating to understand the process from raw material to design object, because it helps me understand the amount of work that goes into making a product and thus makes me appreciate it so much more. I will surely make some time next year to participate in one of those tours and of course will then tell you all about it in my blog!
Until then… playful regards,
For more information: www.designerssaturday.ch
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur, a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer and ex-hotelier, who’s discovered her love for blogging. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
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