Atelier Oï: Designing a Sensory Experience

A look at atelier oï’s immersive creations

Atelier Oi Oiphorique floor lamp Parachilna blog

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.

Atelier Oi hammock Louis Vuitton Parachilna blog

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.

Atelier Oi lighting-collection-oiphorique-Parachilna blog

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).

Atelier Oi Romandie boat Parachilna blog

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).

atelier-oi_Parachilna blog

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.

Gifu Prefecture_pho_maker atelier oi Parachilna blog

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.

Atelier Oi Portrait_Aurel+Aebi_Armand+Louis_Patrick+Reymond Parachilna blog

Neri&Hu: Elle Deco’s Designers of the Year

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The annual Milan Design Week (Salone del Mobile) in April is undeniably the event of the year. Although it was a place where we first launched Parachilna back in 2014, we are not a fan of Milan Design Week and all kind of shows like this (we have already said that before). Milan is a fantastic city but during this event it becomes impossible even to walk the streets or to be properly served in restaurants. The mass of people creates an unimaginable chaos everywhere mostly in Salone itself whose enormous dimensions does not make it easier. The biggest highlight was the ELLE DECO International Design Awards (EDIDA) ceremony, where we were pleased to see Neri&Hu Design and Research Office take home the Designers of the Year award. 


It was a well-deserved win for Shanghai-based creatives Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu. For over a decade, the partners have focused their energies on projects that blend function and innovation. They deserved it also because their the most victorious ability is their humanity. We rarely meet in our lives , even in our private circles such a nice, honest, humble, caring and smiling people. It is a pity that there is no award for the truest and the best person of the year because if there was one they would be the winners!

 Neri&Hu’s speciality is giving old-fashioned spaces and concepts a modern yet minimalistic revamp. For example, the design of their Bai lights for Parachilna was based on the traditional Chinese lantern.



“We always try to find meaning and purpose in the pieces we do,” says Neri. “We tried to make sure the idea of the lantern was still there, but it also needed to be abstracted in order to be relevant.”

In the update, paper was replaced with blown glass, wire was traded for high-quality metalwork finished in aged bronze and candlelight was swapped for an LED. They even incorporated their heritage into the name of the collection, Bai, which is a common surname in China. The end result: a family of hanging lamps consisting of a mother, father and a son – a clever reflection of China’s one-child policy.

The two architects have been on a winning streak in recent years. They were named Maison&Objet Asia Designers of The Year 2015 and Wallpaper* Designer of The Year 2014. In 2013, they were inducted into the U.S. Interior Design Hall of Fame.

With Jaime Hayón winning ELLE DECO’s Designer of the Year Award in 2016, we’re happy to see two more of our collaborators receive the accolade. The ceremony was marked with excitement, along with a touching acceptance speech from the duo to cap off the evening. 

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“Lyndon and I are deeply, deeply honoured and profoundly humbled by this award,” said Hu before passing the microphone to Neri, who left the audience with a thoughtful remark: “Design is important in the world today and design can make a difference.”


Congratulations, Neri&Hu!




Featured post

Crafting Brilliance

Why we work with designer Stephen Burks

Stephen Burks for ParachilnaIf Stephen Burks could have any super power imaginable, it would be the ability to control time – simply because “there never seems to be enough of it.” For a designer in perpetual demand due to his innovative knack for bridging the worlds of craft traditions, contemporary design and industrial manufacturing, it makes perfect sense.

Step into his New York studio, Burks Man Made, and you’ll see his hands-on approach in motion. You might also catch a glimpse of some of the products he’s made for international clients like Parachilna, B&B Italia, Boffi, Cappellini, Dedar, Harry Winston, Missoni, Roche Bobois and Swarovski. In fact, it was his collaborations with Dedon and Moroso that first caught our attention. While there aren’t many U.S. designers working with European firms, Burks is a shining example of how a new wave of American talent is transcending borders. We were immediately intrigued by his aptitude for blending modernity with ancestral influences.

Self-described as both a traveller and a designer, Burks is often found connecting with artisans in communities around the world. His passion for keeping culture-specific techniques alive has been a centrepiece in his work for over a decade, leading him to consult with non-profits including Aid to Artisans, the Clinton Global Initiative and Design Network Africa.

Take his Babel lighting collection for Parachilna, in which African totems and Brutalist architecture are cited as two key influences. Beyond simply being inspired by ethnic traditions, Burks is also helping to ensure they continue to thrive. It’s not everyday you find a designer who works with Senegalese basket weavers based in New York and Dakar, or collaborates with artisans in South Africa, Peru and India. It’s his forward-thinking approach that has earned him numerous accolades including the Brooklyn Museum Young Modernist Award and the Architektur & Wohnen Audi Mentor Prize. Most recently, he’s taken up an artist-in-residence post at A/D/O’s Design Academy in Brooklyn, where he’s exploring the pillars and challenges of luxury design and mass manufacturing.

Having studied at Chicago’s New Bahaus [also known as the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design] Burks began his career with a distinctly Modernist approach. Over the last decade, he’s carved out his own niche by combining innovation with craft sensibilities gleaned from the days when everything was made by hand. Burks himself likes to touch, feel and immerse himself in all his creations, too. Whether producing products, lighting, furniture or exhibitions, he thoughtfully conceptualizes every aspect, often mixing high art principles and functionality. Cultural sustainability is a cornerstone of his work and in recent years, he’s focused on giving international communities a chance to engage in conversations around design.

“Lighting is a kind of gateway product into the world of design for most people, so in many ways it has to be very functional yet magical somehow,” says Burks. “I approach lighting design from the magical first, while trying to create a form with details that accentuate the function of illumination.”

Perhaps this is what Burks has in mind when he created the whimsical and geometric forms for Parachilna’s Anwar collection. Always one to take interest in materials, Burks was keen to work with wire – and not afraid to challenge Parachilna’s skilled craftsmen in the process.

“The project began thinking about an illuminated object. A volume filled with light that was both physically present, yet light and transparent somehow—like a hollow spool of thread or the curls on my son’s head. In fact, his name Anwar, means luminous in Arabic,” he says.

Since the dawn of time, the idea of harnessing and creating light has been a universal obsession. Burks may not have the power to control time, but in his own way, he’s breathing new life into to the past and shaping the future. Illumination, in every sense of the word, is the eternal muse.

Designer of the Year Award By Elle Decoration edition 2017

After Jamie Hayón , neri&hu won the designer of the year award 2017.

The event took place on October 28 at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo, honouring the close relations between the two countries.

just a little reminder, neri&hu designed the Bai collection for Parachilna in 2015.


Bai T ma ma grey


Bai T chandelier III grey


Bai A ba ba transparente

Congratulations neri&hu !!

Designer of the Year Award By Elle Decoration edition 2016

We are really proud of Jaime Hayón, designer of the aballs and chinoz collections.

Jaime Hayón is brainstorming with Parachilna about their future collection. We can’t wait to present it to you. We already believe in it. And we are sure you will too!


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