A look at atelier oï’s immersive creations
Switzerland-based design agency atelier oï is known for diving headfirst into every project they take on. Creating products for a range of clientele including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Moroso, B&B Italia, Pringle of Scotland and Parachilna, their intrepid cross-disciplinary method ensures no two designs are ever the same. Often, their concepts encourage viewers to reconsider ordinary objects. Take their luxurious leather hammock for Louis Vuitton, for example (below), or their birdhouse made of seeds that slowly changes shape before disappearing completely.
Of course, we wouldn’t be able to bring up atelier oï without mentioning their ethereal OÏPHORIQUE collection for Parachilna.
Watch Oïphorique‘s graceful undulations in the video above.
The series effortlessly celebrates the studio’s 20th anniversary milestone with luminaires that combine steel and textile to form light casting sculptures. Featuring unique shapes that emulate the graceful movements of jellyfish in the water, they bring a gentle elegance to both residential and hospitality projects.
Indeed, atelier oï’s forward-thinking practice is also reflected in their name. “Oï” is derived from the Russian word troika, meaning, “a vehicle pulled by a team of three horses”. When founders Armand Louis and Aurel Aebi first met in university, they bonded over their love of architecture and design. Upon meeting third founder, Patrick Reymond (who had a background in boat construction), design sparks flew. Viewing themselves as travellers “discovering new materials and ways of creating,” atelier oï continues to reach new achievements on an international scale. And of course, having three people at the helm is a recipe for endless discussion and experimentation. Since 2009, the team has been working out of their “Moïtel,” a revamped former motel in La Neuveville, Switzerland. Their proximity to a great lake gives them the opportunity to take their clients out on the water via the “Romandie I, 1952,” the atelier’s well-appointed passenger-cabin-turned-luxury-dream-boat (below).
When they do travel, they make a statement. Their participation in Milan Design Week 2017 had them presenting new products like their Spiral Lamp, Belt Chair and Swing Boat for Louis Vuitton, as well as collaborative exhibits. One of these was CASA GIFU II The art of Seki, the second installation of an on-going project in partnership with Japan’s Gifu Prefecture. The first exhibition of this kind was at Milan Design Week 2016. It focused on two Japanese crafts: paper-making (originally produced in the region of Mino) and cedar wood (originating from the Takayama region).
This year, the exhibit aimed to “relocate” Seki (a Japanese city known for its 780-year-old cutlery and sword-making traditions) to the heart of Milan’s Brera District. Co-working with one of the oldest forges of the region, atelier oï developed a katana, a traditional Japanese sword used by the samurai of ancient Japan.
Through a sea of sparks and clanging steel, the immersive demonstration transported onlookers to Japan through a sensory experience. This synthesis of cultures, inspirations and artisanal skills is reflective of atelier oï’s 25-year passion for continually crossing borders. Their disruptive approach to breaking down boundaries between genres and reinvigorating artisanal traditions is one of the reasons we wanted to collaborate with them. As they continue to light up the world’s design scene, we look forward to seeing what’s next for this dynamic trio.