Taking place in July, each designer will exhibit two projects for judging by established figures such as Bertjan Pot, Nipa Doshi, Max Lamb and Rolf Hay. To celebrate this year's festival, Design Parade 8, we are previewing the work of its 10 competing designers, publishing two previews a week up until the exhibition's opening on 5 July.
Bähler, 25, was raised in Malleray, Switzerland, a village where his studio is now based. “I have access to a lot of facilities I couldn’t get in Lausanne for instance,” he says. “I walk 100m and I have a wood workshop I can use whenever I want. Walk a little bit further and there’s a foundry.”
Studying at ECAL in Lausanne, Bähler also spent a semester at Design Academy Eindhoven. “ECAL is really organised and entering it is like going into a bank; Design Academy is more like an art school,” explains Bähler. “As a designer my work is balanced between experimental projects and industrial ones.”
Bähler’s first project for Design Parade veers towards the experimental. Produced during a residency at the ceramics centre EKWC in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, Patterns & Colors sees ceramic pebbles embossed with patterns transferred from latex foils and coloured using clay.
“I had been wanted to experiment with glaze but couldn’t find a good context to do it in,” says Bähler. “Then I found this new technique at EKWC. The ceramics are a functionless experiment and in total there are 70 pieces and it’s really interesting to see them all together. They benefit from the variety.” Bähler intends to hang the pieces on a painted grey wall.
The other project to be presented in Hyères steers towards industrial design. Volet is a folded aluminium wallhook, where the fold in the metal disguises the screw on which the piece is hung on. “Hence why it’s called Volet,” says Bähler. “Shutter in English.”
Volet was manufactured by La Vague, a platform for young designers founded in 2011 by Bähler and four ex-classmates from ECAL. “We’re working on a second collection for it now, but we’re now all in different cities so it’s a lot of organisation,” he says.
Alongside La Vague, Bähler has another future project in mind. “I’m thinking of moving,” he says. “Maybe to Bern. But I still live in my family house in Malleray. It’s very old and I’m the sixth generation to live in it. It’s history that keeps me there.”