Balanced by Mischer’Traxler at Wait and See

Two years ago, we went to Milan for the annual furniture fair and noticed, to our delight, a very Sight Unseen–appropriate theme: Rather than just presenting their work, designers were using their Salone exhibitions to showcase their process alongside their finished products. Last year was no exception to the trend, and this year, one of the most promising Milan preview emails to come across the transom at Sight Unseen HQ saw the Vienna-based duo mischer’traxler poised to create a new piece from the tools and inspirations used to develop their old ones. For Balanced, an installation opening tomorrow at the Milanese concept shop Wait and See — a kind of next-gen 10 Corso Como tucked inside a former monastery — the machine-obsessed couple dug up artifacts from the creation of four of their most popular projects and envisioned them laid out perfectly on either side of four gigantic homemade scales. Mischer’traxler gave Sight Unseen an exclusive first look at the show, by way of images they shot in their studio earlier this month, and told us a bit more about its genesis.

“With Balanced, we wanted to show that for us, research and all kinds of input for a project are really important. The exhibition consists of four installations which give insight into our way of working, and which explain the projects in a different way by showing various parts of our process. The presented projects are: Reversed Volumes, the Idea of a Tree, Growing Necklace from the project Scientific Nature of Jewellery, and Collective Works.

“Of course, not all of our materials could fit in the installations, since we had certain restrictions of weight and space on the scales. Selecting and arranging single pieces from our project archives was really fun (though since we had just moved, we had to search for some pieces for quite a while). Balancing everything perfectly, on the other hand, was quite boring, since we spent quite a lot of time moving the pieces a few millimeters one way or the other. Each project got a different type of scale according to what we thought would fit the project the best: Reversed Volumes is presented on one that refers to old scales on the market, while the Idea of a Tree installation uses a counterbalance principle similar to the one we used for the machine in the original project.”

Be sure to check the mischer’traxler website in the coming days to see images of the final installation at Wait and See.


The Idea of a Tree: Ephemera from mischer'traxler's 2008 machine that dyed and wound thread into furnishings whose color gradients changed based on measured sunlight conditions. The green stool on the left is one of the finished objects.


The Idea of a Tree: Detail shot.


The Scientific Nature of Jewellery: For the 2009 Vienna Design Week, mischer'traxler partnered with Rozet&Fischmeister Court Jewelers for three experiments with the brand's traditional techniques. In one of them, Growing Necklace, the duo planted seeds in a pendant whose leaves became a decorative element as they creeped up the chain.


Reversed Volumes: Originally designed for foodMarketo — a 2010 pop-up shop curated by DesignMarketo, Apartamento, and Marion Friedmann — Reversed Volumes is a series of bowls cast from individual vegetables including cauliflower, celeriac, cabbage, melon, beet, fennel, green apple, yellow pepper, and orange.


Reversed Volumes: Detail shot.


Collective Works: Accoutrements from Collective Works machine — mischer'traxler's 2011 Designer of the Future commission — which creates wood-veneer vessels that vary in color and size depending on how many people are standing around watching. If no one's interested in the project, the machine stops working entirely.


Collective Works: Detail shot.


Collective Works: Detail shot.