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Getting Things Done emphasizes the prominent role that handcraft plays in Vorarlberg. Respect and appreciation for old techniques, the knowledge associated with them, and an awareness of their value for future generations also play a part here.

Humidor “Cedro”, 600 x 600 x 450 mm, Spanish cedar, raw and untreated or oiled and waxed, Manufacturing: Tischlerei Rüscher, Schnepfau, Design: Heinz Rüscher, Photo: Arno Gisinger

Folding Chair, solid oak, oak plywood, brass, Manufacturing: Tischlerei Bereuter, Lingenau, Design: Klemens Grund, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

“keila”, plywood and natural leather, Manufacturing: Tischlerei Bereuter, Lingenau, Design: Martin Bereuter, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

Objects of Desire

Getting Things Done includes thirteen prime examples of design and handcraft from Vorarlberg. They show the diversity of materials and areas of work; they are easy to handle and both practical and durable in daily use: furniture, storage boxes, a sport toboggan, a man's traditional costume from the Bregenzerwald region, a cigar humidor. All the products selected were submissions to the Handwerk+Form competitions run by the Werkraum Bregenzerwald and demonstrate the increasing autonomy of handcraft and product design in Vorarlberg. They are testimony to the careful execution of the work and the sophisticated way the materials are used – which is also clearly evident in the exhibition display. 

Harmony Chair, cherry or maple; wood, butt leather, or buffaly hide (seat), Manufacturing: Tischlerei Mohr, Andelsbuch, Design: Anton Mohr, Lucia Bais, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

“Crater I”, leather for the cover; black steel for the legs, Manufacturing: Mohr Polster, Andelsbuch, Design: Johannes Mohr, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

Felt Containers, sheep's wool, Manufacturing: Filzwerkstatt Marianna Moosbrugger, Au, Design: Marianna Moosbrugger, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

Craftsmanship and Product Design

Alongside Vorarlberg's new architecture, handcraft has also become an unmistakeable hallmark of the region. Artisanal knowledge and prowess have been preserved in Vorarlberg over generations in small family structures. Innovation, flexibility, and improvisation have developed in working conditions that have often been difficult. Initiatives like the platform Werkraum Bregenzerwald (1999) attest to the increased importance and new self-image of handcraft and product design. Handcraft has thus become a significant economic factor. Its exponents are on an equal footing with professional designers from the realms of architecture, design, and art.

Joppe, Blend of British cashmere and pure new wool, silk, Manufacturing: Schneiderstüble Manuela Maaß, Lingenau, Design: Manuele Maaß, Markus Faißt, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

“Fatty Container”, 400 x 400 x 400 mm, birch plywood, metal fittings, Manufacturing: Schmidinger Möbelbau, Schwarzenberg, Designer: Harri Koskinen

“Wendy House”, plywood, Manufacturing: Tischlerei Rüscher, Schnepfau, Design: Oskar Leo Kaufmann, Albert Rüf, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

Felt Swing, felt, Manufacturing: Mohr Polster, Andelsbuch, Design: Andrea Mohr, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

Handcraft and Architecture in Dialogue

Handcraft takes a holistic approach to problem solving and thus operates rather differently from industrial methods of production. In Vorarlberg this was recognized early on as a valuable asset. Handcrafting techniques and the forms of industrial production that have come out of them also play a vital role in the success and lasting quality of the building culture. The design tightrope that is part and parcel of the local building culture could only be walked with the help of good craftspeople. Innovative stimuli mostly came from planner-designers in the fledgling phase of new architecture in Vorarlberg in the 1960s. Drawing on its unbroken historical continuity, handcraft has now freed itself from this influence.

Speed Sledge, ash wood (runners), leather (seat), steel (control cable), Manufacturing: Tischlerei Anton Bereuter, Alberschwende, Design: Ralph Broger, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

“The Realm of Metal and Leather”, metal, leather, Manufacturing: Mohr Polster, Andelsbuch and Metallbau Simeoni, Andelsbuch, Design: Johannes Mohr, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

“Fracture”, felt, Manufacturing: Mohr Polster, Andelsbuch, Designer: Andrea Mohr, Photo: Adolf Bereuter

Architecture as Cultural Artefact

After completing its world tour, the exhibition Getting Things Done: Evolution of the Built Environment will become part of the Vorarlberg Museum's permanent collection. By reflecting processes of continuity and change in the society, Vorarlberg's building culture makes an important contribution to the region's cultural landscape.

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