Vienna Design Week Passionswege: Mark Braun @ J & L Lobmeyr
The first station on the 2010 Vienna Design Week Passionswege was “Reichtum. Wasser + Glas” by Berlin designer Mark Braun and the Viennese crystal producer J & L Lobmeyr.
Established in 1863 J & L Lobmeyr were one of the key players in the Wiener Werkstätte movement and so also in the development of Art Deco, working with designers such as Josef Hoffman, Adolf Loos or Carl Witzmann. In addition J & L Lobmeyr are one of the true stalwarts of the Passionswege series and participate every year.
As with all Passionswege participants Mark Braun began by getting to know the company, its history, its strengths, its weaknesses. With this insight he then set about developing his project.
For Mark Braun the main impetus was to give everyday items a value – claim them back as it were from the anonymity of modern production.
Taking “water” as a symbol for everyday objects Mark created a delightful glass water carafe.
A water carafe that does more than just hold water.
On the outside of the carafes Mark has engraved the outline of selected Austrian waterways.
“Reichtum. Wasser + Glas” comprises 21 carafes: seven with lakes, seven with glaciers and seven with rivers.
Each carafe is accompanied by a postcard printed with a satellite image of the lake/river/glacier, the dimensions and the time taken to engrave the carafe.
And so thanks to Mark Braun and J & L Lobmeyr we now know that the Rinnensee covers an area of 0.025 hectares and takes 1 hour 45 minutes to engrave; the Bodensee in comparison covers an area of 536 sq kms and takes 4 hours to engrave.
Facts that are more than just useful trivia for the next pub quiz. Much more the information and the inevitable comparisons causes the observer to think a little more about the water resources and how we treat/abuse them.
If, for example, Mark were to repeat his project in 10 years it would be interesting to see what had changed.
In addition knowing how long the engraving took makes you appreciate much more the effort involved in creating the carafe.
And so not only are we forced to accept the value of the everyday product “water carafe” but also the everyday product “water”
The “exhibition” touch in “Reichtum. Wasser + Glas” is provided by the fact that each carafe is filled with water from the river, lake or glacier engraved into it.
The contrast in opacity and colour providing a wonderful visual component; and the search for living animals in the water a good distraction for tired children.
Although originally intended as an experimental,non-commercial project, the engraved carafes have now been produced in a limited number edition and can be purchased from J & L Lobmyer.
But not only have J & L Lobmeyr something tangible from “Reichtum. Wasser + Glas”
For Mark Braun it was not only an valuable experience to work with such a traditional, family producer but he has also learned an awful lot about engraving and what can be achieved with the technique.
And of course he is now a lot more knowledgeable about the water geography of Austria.