© markus woergoetter 2018

You’ll Never Guess Which European Metropolis Inspired Svenja Deininger’s Latest Body of Work

Sometimes the reason you are drawn to one piece of art or another is obvious. In the case of Viennese artist Svenja Deininger — who opens "Crescendo," her third solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery, this Thursday — we could say it is because her work falls somewhere pleasingly on the spectrum between figurative and abstract. At its most abstract, it resembles the color-field painters we espouse so heartily on this site; at its most figurative, there is something almost Hockney-esque about her canvases. But sometimes the reason you are drawn to one piece of art or another reveals itself to you only later.
More
15_albdorf_formerwriter_900

Thomas Albdorf and the Perfectly Uncomposed Still Life Photograph

Austrian photographer Thomas Albdorf shoots with a 35mm camera that results in a grittiness that is refreshing in this digital age, and his background as a designer is clearly evident in his calculated and well-balanced photographs. His still lifes — constructed from mundane objects or littered building materials — are full of texture, pattern, and intrigue.
More
Arnulf Rainer Museum, Foto: Kollektiv Fischka

Oscar Wanless for Riess, at Vienna Design Week

Oscar Wanless is one half of Silo Studio, the London twosome whose unorthodox investigations into industrial materials have graced Sight Unseen more than a few times. But when I met up with him during last month’s London Design Festival, I found that his latest solo project was also more than worth a mention. For this year’s Vienna Design Week, Wanless worked with Riess, a ninth-generation enamelware company based in Ybbsitz, a small town in southern Austria. The factory has been knocking out metal pots and pans since 1550, and enamelling them at its Austrian headquarters for nearly a hundred years as well. Wanless came on board to disrupt the company’s tried, tested, and perfected process.
More
CA_magnifiers

Carl Auböck: The Workshop by Clemens Kois and Brian Janusiak

Is it possible to love something too much? What about when you're an avid collector of something that teeters on the line between fame and obscurity? For Austrian photographer Clemens Kois, a longtime devotion for the century-old Viennese design workshop Carl Auböck carried a particularly trying dilemma: He had the chance to make a book that could finally introduce the long-overlooked brand to the mainstream, vindicating his fervor and helping to build up the very collecting market he was engaged in, but that would in all likelihood make it harder for him to acquire the objects he loved so much. Luckily for the rest of us, he chose to follow his passion, joining forces with Brian Janusiak of Project No. 8 and powerHouse Books to create Carl Auböck: The Workshop, which came out this past fall.
More
Reversed Volumes: Detail shot.

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.
More
Design object you wish you'd made: “The typical Anglepoise lamp. Actually we prefer the rip-offs rather than the original one, which is probably a shame, but that’s why we wish we’d made it. It’s a real icon of a lamp and found in any color on nearly any desk. It’s technically nearly perfect, and at the same time, mechanically quite simple.” Pictured: Mischer Traxler’s new Relumine lamps, for which they retrofit two vintage lights with modern fittings, then connect them with a fluorescent tube bulb inside a glass casing.

Mischer Traxler, Designers

As a high school student in Vienna, Thomas Traxler followed a course of study fairly typical for Austrian teens. Having had the choice to either study liberal arts — as his future partner Katharina Mischer was doing — or to specialize, he chose to immerse himself in the world of automation techniques. Typical school projects included constructing a kind of assembly-line handling system to transfer goods from one conveyor belt to the other. “It prepares you to work in an engineering office constructing machines that eliminate the need for people,” Traxler, now 29, explains. “It wasn’t creative at all; you had to make things the cheapest, fastest, most durable, and easiest way. After the third year, I knew I didn’t want to continue.” When he ended up at design school as an undergrad, where he met Mischer, the pair were pretty much coming from opposite worlds: She was interested in art, nature, and the unexpected, and he was still learning how to reconcile those things with his inclination for the mechanical. So in a way, their collaboration was both perfect and inevitable. “In technical school you’re trained as a technical idiot — you’re not meant to think out of the box,” he says. “So it’s important to have the perspective of someone who’s not in the box.”
More
Our tour began on the third floor of Lobmeyr’s Kartnerstrasse showroom, which acts as a museum of sorts for the company’s extensive back catalogue. Glass cases filled with tumblers, drinking sets, and dishes line the perimeter of a narrow circular walkway, and in the middle is this copper-wheel engraving lathe — the first to be used by the company in the early 19th century. It’s almost exactly like the one that’s used today. “It hasn’t really changed in the last 300 years,” Rath laughs. Its variously sized spindles and discs are used to create a variety of textures and line effects on the surface of glass.

J. & L. Lobmeyr

Since its founding six generations ago, Lobmeyr has tended to follow its own compass rather than listening to the whims of the market — in other words, it’s never been afraid to be a little bit different. It’s why the company moved from its original role as glass merchants to manufacturers; what inspired a relationship with the radical designers of the Wiener Werkstätte; and why the company today collaborates with designers like Polka, whose 2008 beer glasses boast an engraving based on the goals scored during a 1978 soccer match between Austria and Germany.
More
house

To Live in a Schindler House, by Pin-Up Editor Felix Burrichter

In March, Pin-Up magazine editor Felix Burrichter packed his bags and left New York for an extended stay in Los Angeles, where he met up with the Vienna artist Sarah Ortmeyer. Chosen for one of four annual residencies with Vienna's Museum for Applied Arts (MAK) — whose L.A. branch is based in architect Rudolph Schindler's 1922 Kings Road House — the pair have spent the intervening months shacked up in a two-bedroom apartment at the museum's Mackey building, working on a joint project they'll present on September 10. Called "XXX BURRICHTER ORTMEYER," its main element is a publication focused on the mercurial relationship between Schindler and his wife; Burrichter has also taken advantage of the proximity to give the fall issue of Pin-Up an L.A. theme. Architecture buff that he is, we got to wondering how else he'd been inspired by his surroundings, so we invited him to share with us the experience of living in the recently renovated Mackey building, whose five apartments Schindler built in his trademark style in 1939. "It’s like living in a little museum," he says. "At first we were like, this is crazy, but it’s really the perfect apartment, even though it’s so basic. We’ve been here for four and a half months now, and the longer we stay, the more we realize how well thought-out it is."
More
Readymade hats, waiting to be packed and shipped, line the main workroom.

Mühlbauer Headwear

If you’ve recently strolled through the streets of Vienna’s city center, chances are you’re familiar with Mühlbauer, the 107-year-old hat-maker whose two flagships, tiny jewelboxes designed by the German-Italian architect duo Kühn Malvezzi, are located just a stone’s throw from Adolf Loos’s infamous American Bar. Ditto if you’ve been paying attention to the ever-changing hat wardrobe of Brad Pitt — who’s a fan — or if you’ve been shopping for accessories in chic department stores from Bergdorf’s to Le Bon Marché. The millinery has made such a name for itself in the past few years, collaborating with cult fashion labels like Fabrics Interseason and outfitting the likes of Yoko Ono and Meryl Streep, it’s hard to believe that in 2001, when Klaus Mühlbauer took over the company with his sister Marlies, “nobody even knew that Mühlbauer was related to hats,” he says.
More
layout2

A Guide Magazine

We’ve seen magazine issues themed around water, procrastination, infrastructure, age, Belgium, and sex. But horses? Not until we picked up the latest issue of one of our favorite new reads, A Guide Magazine. Conceived by the Vienna-based husband-and-wife duo of graphic designer Albert Handler and his fashion-world wife Ulrike Tschabitzer-Handler, and named for the city guides that will be available as a pullout in each issue, A Guide Magazine is a biannual publication devoted to craft and creativity.
More
"Abstract thought is a warm puppy" —Art Spiegelman: "There's a theory in art that good things come from your stomach and aren't thought about, and I disagree with that exclusion of thinking and of the senses. I like that Spiegelman doesn't exclude it. I used this quote as the name of a 2008 installation I made at the Center for Contemporary Non-Objective Art in Brussels."

Esther Stocker, Artist

It's funny to hear Esther Stocker talk about reading between the lines. The Vienna-based painter is known for manipulating spatial geometry using the framework of the grid — both on canvas and in her trippy 3-D installations — until the mind starts making linear connections that aren't really there, trying to find order in the optically illusive chaos. But that's not what Stocker's referring to. She's talking about Charles Schultz's Peanuts.
More