Champagne House Perrier-Jouët and the London Design Festival are collaborating for the second year on a commission that will be housed at the V&A Museum in London. Working with leading glassware specialists Lobmeyr, the Viennese-based designer’s mischer’traxler (Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler) have been commissioned to create a bespoke installation entitled Curiosity Cloud. This will be the first time that the duo have exhibited in the UK and it is sure to be a spectacular success. House of Coco sent Emily Georgiou to Vienna to experience a sneak preview of behind the scenes work and the incredible installation.
mischer’traxler has taken inspiration from the core principles and rich variety of expression associated with the Art Nouveau movement. For a brief brilliant period that took place predominantly between 1890 and 1910, Art Nouveau was a shimmering presence in European and North American urban centres; a philosophy and style of art inspired by the beauty of nature. A response to the rapid urban growth and technological advances that followed the industrial revolution, the period was concerned with transforming the mundane of everyday life into something truly beautiful. Art Nouveau protagonist and friend of the House of Perrier-Jouët , Emile Gallé was commissioned by the Maison to transform a simple glass bottle design into an ‘objet d’art’, a beautiful object that would reflect the elegant quality of the liquid within. And so in 1902, the Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque anemone adorned bottle was conceived, a move that for over a century has inspired the House of Perrier-Jouët to support and contribute to the Arts. Today the house continues to support leading creative minds and artistic institutions, from supporting design events to commissioning works from artists around the world. The installation will be true to the style of mischer’traxler being highly interactive exploring sound and light with references to Art Nouveau in support of the Perrier- Jouët name.
“We are excited to have mischer’traxler create an installation for Champagne Perrier-Jouët to be housed in the UK for the first time and we are looking forward to seeing how they will showcase the ethos of the House and reflect its Art Nouveau heritage.” Says Axelle de Buffévent, Global Style Director for Champagne Perrier-Jouët.
This is not the first time that this Viennese design duo have been commissioned by Perrier-Jouet. They commissioned mischer’traxler to create an installation for Design Miami 2014 entitled Ephemera; a project that mischer’traxler have deemed a ‘sibling project’ of Curiosity Cloud that focussed on the use of plants and botanicals. The installation was the starting point of Small Discoveries by mischer’traxler, an extended collaboration project between the designers and the House of Perrier-Jouët that is continuing to run this year. The aim of the ‘Small Discoveries’ collection is to tell the story of the magical dialogue between nature and mankind, and to stimulate curiosity of the individual through several design pieces. With Small Discoveries, Katharina and Thomas explore the moments between the unknown and known, being and not being. The design duo has also designed a Limited Edition series of bottles under the umbrella theme of Small Discoveries which will be released in September to coincide with the reveal of their installation for the London Design Festival at the V&A. The continued relationship and commissions between Perrier-Jouet and mischer’traxler is true testament to their design brilliance and inspiring presence; a trait that House of Coco can definitely endorse. We were truly in awe of how lovely Katharina and Thomas were and it was so wonderful to share their design experiences and learn about how they work together to create these thought provoking installations.
The Curiosity Cloud installation will comprise of 250 mouth-blown glass globes hanging within the V&A’s famous Norfolk House Music Room. The globes have been delicately hand crafted and finished by the famous Lobmeyr glass makers. House of Coco were lucky enough to be invited into their quaint studios to see where the magic happens. The Viennese Glass and Chandelier manufacturer are celebrating their 190th year of creativity. It is a family-run business in its sixth generation although unfortunately it is very much a dying art worldwide. Before being sold Lobmeyr glassware has gone through at least 24 pairs of hands and four separate quality controls, the last of which is always by a member of the family. It’s the little differences that make Lobmeyr glassware what it is and inspire Lobmeyr fans all over the world. For the installation within each Lobmeyr globe a variety of species of hand fabricated insects will flutter. Speaking to Katharina and Thomas they explained the selection process of the insects and the importance of representing extinct and endangered species as well as those that thrive today. Each insect has been selected due to aesthetics and the realistic nature of their movement within the bulbs. The bee is a valuable insect that plays an important role within our eco-system and especially with the production of champagne; a fitting selection to include within the commission. Having said that, all insects are crucial within the eco-system to provide a balanced life and mischer’traxler recognise this. Katharina and Thomas talked us through the insect selection and so far they have narrowed it down to 2 critically endangered species, 6 extinct, 11 common and 6 newly discovered – of course this may all change in the lead up to the exhibition.
Curiosity Cloud will tickle all the senses in a truly interactive manner. From a distance the glass globes will shimmer and glisten in the light, and you will be tantalised by the insects within. As you move closer the insects will react by flying faster within the globes, tapping against the glass as they elevate their wings. Curiosity Cloud aims to explore the transience of nature and the Art Nouveau movement. Katharina says that it, ‘depicts the relationship between humans and nature in a slightly artificial way but somehow still captures a moment, a real encounter with nature. It captures the true essence.’ It is an incredibly fitting exhibition for the V&A as it is all about conserving and the ultimate conservation of insects. The insects are enclosed within a bulb, much like objects within a curiosity cabinet within a museum.
“The most astonishing thing about nature is that everything is interconnected and harmonious. Every aspect of a living creature has a raison d’être, working together in an endless cycle of dialogue and correlation.” mischer’traxler
This installation is not one to be missed. We assure you that you will be moved in some way by this beautiful selection of interactive bulbs and insects. A pathway between the bulbs will be visible for you to walk through and the reciprocal nature of the installation will delight both adults and children and will entice even the most art-phobic person. House of Coco were lucky enough to experience a small snippet of what is to come but the sheer scale of 250 bulbs cannot yet be fathomed. House of Coco are incredibly excited by the exhibition and are proud to champion mischer’traxler’s phenomenal work. Do not miss it!
The London Design Festival will run from 19 – 27 September 2015.