The artist’s view on himself

Tobias Rehberger’s most personal exhibition in Copenhagen to date shows not only his artworks and snapshots but also objects which he has «amassed» over the years, as he says. But why? He unravels this mystery for us in the interview. 

Stretching over two floors and onto the forecourt of the museum, Tobias Rehberger’s major retrospective «through the back side of my eyes» at Kunstforeningen GL Strand in Copenhagen is on view until 14 January 2024. The artist is considered one of the most influential of his generation and was awarded the Golden Lion at the 53rd Venice Art Biennale. At the centre of his interest is playing with perception and the possibility to see, experience and interpret things in a new and different way.

What can visitors expect to see at your exhibition in Copenhagen?
I decided to exhibit works from the last 30 years. Some of them have been exhibited before, these are all works that I had kept to myself. When you make a series with several works, you keep one or the other for yourself. Since the exhibition is taking place in the large venerable Kunstforeningen GL Strand, which used to be privately used, I liked the idea of doing something «private» as well. I did some research and found no other artists who had undertaken an exhibition of this kind before me: This time, it is about the artist’s view of himself when he selects certain works of his. There are also two other layers in the exhibition. On the one hand, I show things that I have amassed over time that do not constitute art – for example, my collection of cookbooks and my collection of teapots – although I have to say that these are not curated collections, but objects that I found good and therefore amassed. I might want to add that there are photos of me that were not taken to be exhibited, but snapshots just like the ones others take.

And the fourth layer of the exhibition is the artwork in front of the museum?
Yes, outside there is façade work that, in contrast to the «private» inside, has to do with the opposite, namely the public. On the first floor of the building, neon boxes are built into the windows, like neon signs in front of shops. They are connected to a pedestal on the forecourt of the museum where you can log your mobile phone in and play your own music. The light of the neon boxes reacts to this music and in a way plays the music and the light version of the piece of music. So this work lets you turn something private like your own music into something that is publicly visible and audible.

What do the exhibits you have chosen have in common?
There are many different reasons why people keep their own works. Sometimes they are particularly successful works or one feels sorry for a work. What they all hold in common is that as an artist you identify with them in some way – it can also be the slightly weirder works that are not so catchy. There is not the same criterion for everyone. That is why it is so interesting – because it is such an ambiguous mass.

Speaking of the artist’s view of himself that is shown – what do you see when you look at the exhibition?
This very view. What that is, everyone has to find out for themselves. That is why I’m doing it. If I knew it so well myself, I could write it down, but then it would be a boring exhibition. It may also be about things that you don’t really want to know yourself. It’s intimate enough that I show you my view of myself. (laughs)

Seriously, that is true. What is the title of the exhibition «through the back side of my eyes» all about?
It is about this view of oneself, which is different from the view forward. When you look through the back of your eyes, you are also looking at yourself. It is a kind of self-reflection. There is a certain parallelism, because neither do I collect my own work strategically, nor do I collect my teapots strategically. So in this exhibition I deal with art in a different way than I usually show it to the outside world. Outwardly, I curate much more than I have now. Curating would be the front of the eyes. What I show here is much more unstrategically selected. Through the back of the eyes, which is also somewhat blind, I have a more unconscious access.

Exciting! Your work brings art, architecture and design together – what fascinates you about this interplay?
I would like to say I use strategies from other fields like design and architecture but only to find out something for art. Just because I do something with a chair there is no overlap with design – for me it’s always about what that means for the art. What motivates me, for example, is the question of why a chair cannot be a sculpture, why you cannot experience art with your eyes closed, … there are so many things that you are told and that I have also told myself that I suspect are not always true. That is what gets me interested. And my level of suffering is great enough to get up every morning and dive into these questions.

Which idea or project has excited you most recently?
An artist friend of mine, Rirkrit Tiravanija, told me that he wants to build a machine that performs a Japanese tea ceremony. The idea is that you make this absolutely precise ceremony that ideally is the same over and over again, really perfect in a way that is no longer human. The question is whether the tiny differences in human imprecision are not what is actually interesting. One always thinks that precision and perfection are the goal of the tea ceremony. But if you now have a machine that achieves this precision, the idea turns around. The best works of art are the ones  that achieve something like this. Funnily enough, I created some piece of art myself many years ago that dealt with this very question, which is probably why I find it so exciting. I am really looking forward to the work.

Photos Copyrights: Tobias Rehberger, through the back side of my eyes. GL STRAND, 2023. Photo by David Stjernholm, Portrait: SWATCH

The Designer

Sebastian Marbacher belongs to a new breed of prominent Swiss designers. His word has received several awards and encompasses the interplay between (product) design, art and architecture.

He designs furniture, products and rooms. His objects are accessible, always suitable for everyday use and often have minimalist lines without losing their playfulness. Sebastian Marbacher is a creative inventor, an aesthete. Born in Lucerne in 1986, he initially completed an apprenticeship as an engineer and followed this by studying industrial design at the Zurich University of the Arts. In 2013 he founded Studio Sebastian Marbacher in Zürich and, in addition to his own projects, works successfully with well-known companies and institutions. A conversation about reduction, chairs and artistic issues.

Sebastian, let’s start at the beginning: Which memories do you consider to be formative for your creative career?
Maybe that my father always had a workshop and often worked with wood. In one house we lived in, the kitchen, workbench and fireplace were all in one room. For me, cooking, sitting together at the table and working belong together to this day.

Talking about sitting together – chairs are a very common feature of your work …
That’s how it’s turned out over the years. When I first started, I never had the idea of designing a chair. In the course of my search, however, I keep coming back to the subject of ‘sitting’. For me, chairs are also a good size as an object. You can carry, rotate it and hold them. This simplicity and independence of chairs represents something exciting for me.

Simplicity as a keyword – your work is minimalist and yet there is something playful about it …
I’m actually interested in reduction, but not to the point where there’s nothing original left. I’m interested in reduction in order to extract what seems essential to me. Clear lines and compelling stories.

Like your Basic Chairs, for example?
Yes, in fact, at the beginning there was the question what‘s needed to sit? How minimal can the seat and backrest be? In addition, I was excited by the idea of finding a geometry that would allow stacking. The design then developed over several prototypes.

Originally an engineer, mechanical draftsman, now designer and scenographer – how has your questioning changed over the years and what challenges you?
In mechanical engineering, the cheapest and simplest solution is always sought. I had a lot of fun with this. But today, for me, it’s about opening up completely. Everything is possible and I often work with many different variants at the beginning. That’s a whole different challenge. What interests and fascinates me is the question of what is functional. Does the function come first or can an object communicate or even annoy first of all?

And what makes a task particularly exciting for you?
Difficult question, I think the variety and multiplicity of projects is most important. Location-specific projects are always exciting challenges for me. New places and people and framework conditions.

Upcycling of materials is always a theme with your objects. How important is sustainability?
On the one hand I am a designer, on the other hand I am a consumer. In both roles, I make decisions that involve considerations of sustainability. For example about materials, short transport routes or production facilities. The Basic Chair is produced for Switzerland and Italy, for a Japanese label in Japan itself.

In the face of abundance – as a product designer, don’t you start to ponder?
Designing new products is of course part of this controversy. You see the mountains of rubbish and the things that cannot be repaired. However, if you develop a new product that can be manufactured or operated three times more efficiently with regard to resources or energy, then that is a positive step.

Let’s get to your latest project. Rumour has it that it has two wheels?
Correct. It’s a collaboration, but I can’t reveal too much about it just yet. It’s about a bike that combines the advantages of small wheels with the advantages of a large luggage rack. I am convinced that the «bicycle» as an umbrella term still offers a lot of potential if we look at the changes in society with the inner cities and the large number of people.

You also work regularly with your partner and textile designer Mara Tschudi. What’s it like, working and living together as two creative people?
Since I’ve known Mara, there’s been an exchange in both directions. Her world of colours plays an important role in my projects. We come from different disciplines and complement each other very well in the sense that my work is very analytical, planned and derived. And from a human perspective it’s extremely valuable that we can just share that and understand what the other is about.

Finally: How much furniture is self-made in your home?
Some of it. And there’s a long to-do list of projects (laughs). Our interior is actually an ongoing construction site. For me, this is also a kind of field research without the pressure of having to present a result. And you can only be completely free if you know that you can also fail.

Photos Copyrights: Dominik Zietlow / studio sebastian marbacher

Copyright is for losers

His name is known around the world, but few know who the street artist Banksy actually is. Those who know do are keeping are silent. And the man himself? He gives people reasons to talk about him …

A long line of people is standing in front of Hall 622b in Zürich-Oerlikon. People full of anticipation, curious people. Because they all want to see the current exhibition featuring around 150 works by the world’s currently most high-priced artist. We’re talking about Banksy. Internationally known as one of the best street artists in the world. And a mystery. To this day there is only speculation as to who is behind the stencil graffiti with its huge recognition factor. So it is fitting that the exhibition in Zürich is entitled «The Mystery of Banksy – a genius mind. The unauthorised exhibition». Because when an author does not officially insist on his rights, authorisation is difficult. Banksy is a phenomenon. One with influence.

An exceptional talent from day 1

He is an exceptional phenomenon and his anonymity, which has been preserved for decades, of course makes that even stronger. In addition, he is absolutely direct. His art is always socially critical – and has been from day 1. The first works appeared in Bristol, England, as early as the 1990s. Initially, Banksy worked here with other graffiti artists. Then, thanks to fellow artist «3D», he discovered stencil art. Or to put it in his own words from an anonymous interview: «When I was about ten years old, a boy called 3D was the first to bring spray paint to Bristol. So I grew up with it and graffiti was what we all loved at school and did on the way home from school.»

He created his first large mural one night in 1997. It was entitled «The Mild Mild West». It was an image of a giant teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at three police officers. The legend of Banksy was born. And it was clear to everyone that this artist is hiding behind a pseudonym, but hardly anyone denounces capitalism, society, the economy, politics, cultures as blatantly as he does – and people celebrate that, at least for the most part. The first rays of sunshine in the morning suddenly illuminate smooching police officers in Soho, a girl with a gas mask in Barcelona or a pair of scissors on a border wall in Israel. Cynical wit paired with humour, as his style is often summed up. And a style that receives worldwide attention.

His identity is practically a state secret

The fact is, there are people who know who Banksy is. Starting with 3D, who by the way is now the front man of the band Massive Attack under his real name Robert Del Naja. But the fact is that all these people are keeping silent. It doesn’t matter whether it’s his first companions or active artists, musicians and creative people who know him personally. And that bothers a lot of people. Among other things, the Daily Mail has undertaken extensive research into who is behind the pseudonym. Based on this, scientists at Queen Mary University in London used forensic and static methods to track down Banksys. Incidentally, methods that are actually only used in the search for serial killers and serial offenders.

Both the Daily Mail and the university researchers came to the conclusion that Banksy is the British artist Robin Gunningham. But Gunningham himself is having none of it. Others believe that 3D is Banksy, again various different comparisons were made when it came to where the band performed and where new images appeared. In 2003, Banksy also gave an interview to ITV News correspondent Haig Gordon. With a baseball cap and a T-shirt over his nose and mouth, he says, among other things, in the 35-second-long appearance: «I’m covered because you can’t really be a graffiti writer and then go public.» And Gordon himself insists that although he saw his face, he can’t remember it.

Headstrong and yet in the spirit of the community

What Banksy thinks of commercial art is anyone’s guess. But on the other hand, he has also made his views more than clear. Starting with the fact that he renounced his copyrights, with the statement «Copyright is for losers», to the day he destroyed one of his most famous works after it had secured the highest bid. No sooner had the hammer fallen at Sotheby’s for the «Girl with Balloon» for an amount of EUE 1.2 million when a shredder built into the picture began to destroy the work. Due to technical problems, it was finally only half disassembled into its individual parts. Fun fact: three years after the incident, the half-destroyed picture came under the hammer again under the new title «Love is in the Bin». And found a new owner for EUR 18.9 million.

Certainly, both the lack of copyright and transferable ownership rights mean not all the proceeds go to Banksy. Nevertheless, he earns a decent sum. And he wouldn’t be Banksy if he didn’t know how to use that for his own convictions. For example, in May 2020 he had his painting «Game Changer» hung exclusively in a hospital in Southampton and then auctioned off to benefit the National Health Service in the wake of the Covid pandemic. At that time, the highest price ever paid for a Banksy painting was EUR 19.5 million. The artist is also the financier and originator of the sea rescue ship «Louise Michel». This bears his drawings and is used to rescue refugees who try to cross the Mediterranean Sea in rubber boats and in so doing get into trouble.

And the story goes on …

Banksy is now believed to be in his late 40s or early 50s. It is therefore likely that new surprises will await people under his name in the coming years. It’s rather doubtful that he will one day appear in front of a camera and reveal his identity. And that’s actually a nice thing in an age when people promote their lives and their loved ones on every social channel going. Incidentally, those waiting in Oerlikon all agree.

Photos Copyrights: Dominik Gruss, Getty Images

Timeless Here and Now

Clarity, contemplation, class – that is what characterises the works of the Belgian designer and architect Vincent van Duysen. The 61-year old designs furniture as well as hotels, stylish offices and rooms for Kim Kardashian.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m interested in the wellbeing of people in general and a general serenity in the world. I would like to contribute something to it. I do that by first understanding how people live in their houses, inhabit their homes, their rooms. I incorporate this knowledge into my work.

Have you always wanted to be an architect?
When I was a child, my parents introduced me to many different forms of art, which was a crucial influence and the foundation of my appreciation and understanding of beauty. They also nurtured a natural talent for creativity in me from an early age. I chose architecture because it covers so many aspects of all applied arts and is therefore an all-round course. But it could also have been photography, cinema, fashion or something similar. Architecture gave and gives me the opportunity to express my creativity in many different ways and thus to contribute to the art of living.

You live and work in Antwerp, what fascinates you about the city?
Antwerp is very cosmopolitan, especially when it comes to arts, craftsmanship and culture. The city offers an enormous range of creative outlets, from theatre to performance, dance, fashion to architecture, involving many people, but in different and unique ways. Antwerp is my home, it influences, ‘contaminates’ me in a way, but at the same time it’s one of my two homes where I can also recharge my batteries and feel protected.

What do you love about your work?
There are many aspects that I like about my job. First, that I work first and foremost for people to improve their lives in organic and timeless ways. I also like the fact that my job gives me the opportunity to nurture my creativity and the ability to respond to change without constraints. I also love absorbing the most diverse disciplines like a sponge. Anything has the potential to inspire me: a documentary on YouTube, a picture of someone I follow on Instagram, a book, an artwork, all kinds of visual stimuli, books, galleries, films… Everything goes through the filter of my empathy and my imagination – and from this I draw and create. But I’m only at my most creative when I’m surrounded by people. I think everyday life, everyday encounters are what inspire me the most. And my travels. And my team!

How do you breathe soul into a room?
Since the beginning of my professional career – 30 years ago now – the most important thing has always been to consider architecture as a profession dedicated to people. This means that residents of a place, a piece of architecture, an interior space, need to feel protected and relaxed. This also applies to the furniture and objects around them that they need for a comfortable and happy life. I bring soul to an environment or space by infusing tactility, timelessness, organics, texture, serenity, comfort, natural materials, light and exquisite craftsmanship.

In such a space, people then feel …?
At home. You feel comfortable, protected, inspired. In my work, the focus is on people. That is why I design or plan primarily for people, for their wellbeing, for their serenity and calm.

Do you have a favourite project from your portfolio?
Each project is different in context, location, connections, use and purpose, making it difficult to prioritise some over others. Also, I always design with a narrative in mind and in that sense my projects are a sequence of a more comprehensive «big picture». Still, there are some key projects that come to mind because you always create an emotional connection – such as Casa M, my holiday home in Portugal.

How do you view the trend towards colour and opulence in interior design?
I don’t follow trends, I always try to be true to myself, putting the customer first and creating spaces, buildings or objects that improve people’s lives.

How do you work best?
My design process never stops, I am always designing in my head – never in front of a ‘blank canvas’. I like to be as observant as possible and have a strong visual approach. I regularly meet with my team and discuss ideas and directions to achieve a shared vision. My ceaseless inspiration comes from travel, conversations, exhibitions, people and everyday life.

What are you currently busy with?
With many projects in parallel… residencies in Asia, Belgium, USA, Berlin, projects for Molteni&C | Dada, Zara Home, Flos, hospitality projects in Portugal, too many. In short, too many to list them all.

Is there a dream come true project besides all this?
Nothing in particular, but in general I want to keep creating and designing new examples of architecture, products and interiors, creating something for humanity in an organic way, creating timeless objects. I want to travel more. To be able to work in countries I haven’t been to. I just hope that we won’t build and produce too much because we have to care about the world and think more in terms of timeless structures and objects. In terms of future endeavours, I generally enjoy seeing each project as an opportunity to try out new or unexpected ideas. I’m always designing in my head. Renewing and developing this common thread that runs through my work again and again is a welcome challenge. I look forward to surprising my clients and bringing a sense of integrity and individuality to every project. At the same time, I want to work with people who challenge me, with whom I have creative chemistry and a strong interaction. I enjoy working with people and clients who push me out of my comfort zone.

“My design process never stops, I am always designing in my head – never in front of a ‘blank canvas’.”

Photos Copyrights: Piet Albert Goethals, Mark Seelen, Alberto Piovano, Hélène Binet,  Max Zambelli, Matthieu Salvaing, Vincent Van Duysen, Koen Van Damme

Review «neue räume 22»

FRITZHANSEN,Series7 ©FritzHansen

Following a forced break the Interior Design exhibition «neue räume» (new rooms) recently took place again for the 11th time. Approximately 100 exhibitors met in the old ABB-Hall in Zurich Oerlikon, to present living trends, product innovations and design objects.

The established Design exhibition is considered as an important presentation area and significant meeting place for the «Who is Who» of the furniture scene as well as for design fans beyond the borders of Switzerland. As an additional highlight to the innovative manufacturers from home and abroad with their new products, «neue räume» traditionally shows current and future living trends in various special events. The design world returns to the stage in Zurich with an exciting program of events, interesting product innovations and culinary discoveries. 

VIFIAN MÖBELWERKSTÄTTE AG, Das modulare Aufbewahrungssystem TriobyMiaKepenek,BlackEdition ©MiaKepenek

Colorful and radical

One of this year’s special events was the exhibition «Frauen im Design» (Women in design). It presented well known furniture and objects from designers, who have been making a name for themselves with their designs since the beginning of the twentieth century right through to the present day. Additionally the association «mobiglias – Handwerkskunst aus Graubünden» (Craftsmanship from the Grisons) looked for furniture and objects in a design competition which have a connection to the Grisons and were also handcrafted and preferably are made of local materials. The members of «mobiglias» manufactured the winning works as prototypes and presented them for the first time at the special event. As hoped – and expected – internationally renowned furniture manufacturers were again represented this year. In line with the motto «Wohnen ist da, wo wir uns wohl fühlen» (Living is where we feel at home), the (possibly not yet worldwide) well known Swiss furniture workshops  «Vifian» from Schwarzenburg thrilled us with the stylish entrance hall furniture «trio», which captivates with its delicate look as well as its versatility. Modular, courageous and multidimensional! The brands «Gufram» and «Memphis Milano», which are now also part of «Italian Radical Design», certainly made a trendy appearance. The newly named group was founded with the goal of reinforcing Italian design brands that stand out thanks to an unmistakable and non-conformist approach. In Switzerland both labels are exhibiting together for the first time at «neue räume 22» and amongst the predominantly discreetly colored furniture pieces at the exhibition the colorful furniture world of the Italians was unmissable. Fritz Hansen was fortunately also present, this time with a selection of cuddly lounge chairs and of course Tom Dixon could not be overlooked, celebrating his 20 years in business this year as well as Magis, Minotti, wb form, Skagerak, ClassiCon or embru, to name but a few.

OREA, Caminada © A. Herger


Très chic in the laundry room

In addition to furniture and objects there was also something exciting to see from the Swiss textile and laundry world. For example the company Christian Fischbacher which has been producing sensual and aesthetically outstanding home textiles for over 200 years. In conjunction with the architect and designer Hadi Teherani the joint «Contemporary Persia Collection» has now been extended by two hand-tufted carpet models. The pattern and colors were inspired by designs from Iran and combine the finest merino wool with shimmering silk and bamboo. The company Schulthess proved to us that doing the laundry can also be chic with an elegant washing tower that does not have to hide in the dark linen room. And the special program item «Orea meets Caminada» verified that cooking is also linked to design. The three-star Michelin chef, Andreas Caminada, created the cooking island «Orea AC» in cooperation with David Spielhofer. Ores plans kitchens as a project very close to their hearts, the kitchen should inspire and motivate you to cook yourself. Presented by Anna Maier, Andreas Caminada introduced the classic design with its fascinating materialization. 

CHRISTIAN FISCHBACHER, Contemporary Persia Moodboard © Jonas von der Hude

GUFRAM, Sofa Bocca Another green cactus © Gufram

GUFRAM, Magritta series © Gufram

CHRISTIAN FISCHBACHER, Contemporary Persia Collection, Teppich Afsun © Christian Fischbacher

Ost meets West

Interior design in japandi style means creating a stylish, free and open space.

You take a considerable portion of Japanese minimalism, add an equally generous amount of Nordic Design – and the living trend for 2021 is complete. „Japandi” is a mix of the popular Scandinavian “Hygge” style and the Japanese Wabi-Sabi philosophy, which is also considered the concept of the perception of beauty. Evident core elements of Japandi are natural colors, simple shapes and primarily wood. While the northern Europeans contribute lighter colored spruce or oak wood to the interior, the Asian area provides darker Design pieces in acacia or walnut. A stylish example of this is a solid oak wood table, flanked by dark wooden chairs.

less is more

The natural factor also comes to the fore in the choice of materials. Linen, jute, cotton, paper, rattan and ceramics are used, and preferably in the colors brown, beige or terracotta. Complimented by optical highlights in indigo, emerald and aubergine. The basic philosophy behind Japandi is to concentrate on the essentials and to omit everything superficial.

Therefore no surprise that the living trend is particularly appealing to minimalists. Decoration articles and other accessories are not completely banned from the room, they are simply placed consciously and generally as a functional eye catcher.

A wall mirror, which makes the room appear optically larger, or intentionally placed light islands as well as plants that attract our gaze and calm our over stimulated senses, that’s decorating in Japandi style. Two well-known elements from the Japanese furnishing style are a must: Room dividers, the so-called paravents, and low pieces of furniture for example a futon bed or a proportionately lowered sofa. Ceramic vases with Japanese characters are also an essential statement. Cushions and blankets as a functional accessory are inspired by “Hygge”. Important to note: Never exaggerate and ask yourself with each piece whether it is really (still) necessary.

A place of rest

The term Japandi is, by the way, a blend of the two terms “Japan” and “Scandic”. And, we have to be honest, not a completely new style. Roughly 150 years ago Danish architects were inspired by the simple elegance of the living style on their travels to Japan. But the clear and extremely modest look has only now come to take its place in our homes. Whether the reason is that we are all more at home now and despite restricted freedom of movement miss the desire for generous dimensions, remains to be seen. The fact is that Japandi provides a stylish, cozy haven. And that does everyone good – always!

Photos Copyrights: Pfister, Carl Hansen, IMM Cologne/Kettler/SICIS, Vitra, COR, Shutterstock

Lidewij Edelkoort

A yearning for the future

Li Ekelkoort, as her name is generally shortened, is a very busy woman, who is constantly on the lookout for marketable information on how we will live in the future, what we we will wear, with which materials or colours we would like to be surrounded.

An intuitive thinker, she illuminates the development of socio-cultural trends, before sharing them with her clients from diverse sectors of industry, for example furnishings, fashion, the retail sector, textiles, automobile, food and cosmetics. From her company, Trend Union, located in Paris, Li Edelkoort issues trend forecasts two years in advance. The different trend books are published twice a year and used by strategists, designers and marketing specialists from diverse international brands and companies for their work. She stands out in her field for her ability to connect what was, what is and what will be.

Fashion and its new effect

While we open this new chapter in history, we look back at the art heroes from our recent past. Inspired by the essence of their creative spirit, we can learn just as much from their philosophy as from their aesthetics. The vitality of these role models will now dictate a new tone for the coming years. Therefore fashions are being made insecure, fabrics revised; materials coated, changed and fitted out. We can learn a lot from outsider designers, about innovative colours, street-worthy combinations and fluent practices that mix all genders, age groups and races, with special reverence to the expression of local influences. She names one trend in fashion “Animism”.

The result is breath-taking and groundbreaking. It transfers the purchase of garments from a consumer act to an act of curation and targets precise selection, which becomes objects that are permeated with energy and camaraderie; garments that are like friends. They are timeless and ageless and become clever investments for the long term. This presentation is therefore the next in a series of seasonal concepts, in which the clothes are disconnected from trends and marketing and are looking for an alternative, deeper meaning. Looking after the planets and the people, giving hope for the future. All garments have their own identity and can motivate the realization of a small collection that offers a customized selection. A new approach to creativity and also somehow the yearning for a new future.

The autumn/winter 2021/22 season will be determined by inspiration, which on the one hand arises from nature, the earthy and the structural and in contrast from a digital aspect, which is concentrated on improved life visions through Virtual Reality, 3D software and Augmented Reality. The colours of the autumn/winter 2021/22 season follow both these aspects and tend towards warm, calming neutral and simple grey tones, that contrast euphoric pastel shades or mysterious underwater turquoise shades. Corresponding to the mood of the time the shapes are relaxed and protective and the cuts unstructured and generous, so we can „wrap up“.

In contrast, these innovative new materials or the wish to display strength lead to bold, sculptural forms that play with an enhancement of the body. This appreciation, which originates in nature, will occasionally also be reflected in a more conscious lifestyle. Edelkoort also predicts an increase in the use of trains instead of aeroplanes as well as e-cars or e-scooters. The change in consumer habits is however particularly decisive for the native Dutch woman: Less rash impulse buys, less compulsive – but rather practical and sustainable.

Lidewij Edelkoort is a trend forecaster, publisher, humanitarian, design teacher and exhibition curator. Her company, Trend Union, produces tools for designers, advertiser and strategists in companies throughout the world. In 2015, she drew attention for the first time to the changes and upheavals that the fashion industry is currently experiencing with her much-discussed Anti_Fashion Manifesto.

“The new luxury will be extremely comfortable and sustainable, but beautifully made.”

From 2015-2020 she was the dean for hybrid design studies at Parsons in New York, where she founded a textile Master and the New Yorker Textile Month Festival in September. Edelkoort was named by TIME Magazine and Business of Fashion as one of the most influential people in the fashion sector and still ranks as one of the most influential people in contemporary design.  Her thought-provoking writings and podcasts are becoming increasingly popular at a time in which she ranks as an activist and innovator of change. In 2020, she was selected as woman of the year (Oeuvre Award) by the Dutch magazine Harper’s Bazaar, while she founded the World Hope Forum as a platform to inspire the creative community to reconstruct a better society.

Photos Copyrights: Thirza Schaap, Shutterstock

Design piece on two wheels

Just on time for ringing in the warmer season, Porsche is launching two new e-bike models onto the markte

Timeless design, outstanding technology and the fascination of the brand itself unite in both models Porsche Sport and Porsche Cross.

So it only remains to say: full speed ahead! Thanks to the Magura Cockpit Integration (MCi) with the brake and gear cabling integrated in the handlebars, the Porsche eBike Sport has a minimized cockpit. In conjunction with the Shimano colour display, which displays speed, distance and range in real time among other features, you can concentrate on what is most important: the street.

The Supernova LED front light with headlight function is elegantly embedded in the handlebars and allows you to keep track of your surroundings. Day and night.

You can experience more adventure with the “Cross-Version”. In particular when cycling off the beaten track. The eBike combines combines style with a passion for adventure and offers the user selected mountain bike components. The ergonomically formed handlebars, the Shimano colour display allow you to always stay “on-track” even on difficult terrain. Porsche advises: “Exchange the tempo of everyday life for the beat of your heart ”.

These eBikes are simply electrifying in every detail.

Porsche E-Bike Sport

Porsche E-Bike Cross

Photos Copyrights: Porsche

Timepieces in times like these

The pandemic is making waves. And the watch industry is feeling the effects. However, this does not stop a number of brands presenting exciting mechanical innovations even in the virus spring of 2021. There is a small selection on the following page.

Shock resistance from Schaffhausen

It can certainly take a lot of hard knocks, the new IWC “Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL” with innovative 44 millimetre “ceratanium” casing. This is made possible by the “SPRIN-g PROTECT System”, developed over an eight year period. A cantilever spring suspends the movement inside the case. Its form and the use of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) have the effect that acceleration forces of more than 30,000 g cannot damage the in house caliber 32115 with a base plate made from an aluminium alloy used in the aerospace sector.

Transparency highlighted

Sapphire is hard and scratch-resistant but certainly not unbreakable. Therefore you would be ill-advised to let the brand new Hublot “Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire” fall onto a stone floor. For the first time in the history of watches both the 42 millimetre case as well as the link bracelet are made of the completely transparent material. Titanium is used to produce the folding clasp. In each of the 30 pieces the in-house calibre HUB6035 with micro rotor self-winding movement, 72 hour power reserve and tourbillon take care of the time.

Perpetual Calendar

Once again in their 27-year history the family of the “Lange 1”, launched in 1994, is expecting a ticking addition. The new “Lange 1 perpetual calendar” is available in an unlimited edition in pink gold. A. Lange & Söhne is also producing 150 pieces in white gold. The automatic calibre L021.3 consists of 621 components. On a purely theoretical level the revolving outsize date, retrograde day of week display, peripheral month ring and digital leap-year indication require manual correction in February 2100, the moon phase only after 122.6 years.

A watch that protects the mudflats

Those who put one of the 2009 steel “Aquis Dat Watt” from Oris on their wrist are contributing to the conservation of the mudflats. The limitation results from the fact that this picturesque stretch of land before the Danish, German and Dutch coast was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2009. The automatic watch with 43.5 mm diameter has a sophisticated combined moon phase-tide indication on the dial for safe mud flat walks. The corresponding hand rotates around its axis in 29.5 days.

Every hour strikes for a happy man

German design and the Swiss art of watch-making combine to a melodious composition in the MeisterSinger “Bell Hora”. This watch, diameter 43 mm, expresses on an acoustic level that every hour strikes for the happy man. When 60 minutes have passed a little hammer produces a chime on the gong under the dial. Of course you can also silence the mechanism, which is powered by the Swiss automatic calibre Sellita SW200, at the touch of a button.

Ticking silver disc

No question: In reference to watch casings silver has a polarizing effect. The precious metal notoriously tends to tarnish. The material with 70 Vickers is also not particularly hard. Despite this fact, Tudor decided to produce the 39 millimetre casing for the new “Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925”, which is waterproof up to 20 bar, in high-quality sterling silver. The manufacturer is maintaining adamant silence on which alloy has been used. The glass back, behind which the manufactured automatic MT5400 ticks, is new. The French textile strap
ensures secure and luxurious comfort on the wrist.

Photos Copyrights: © IWC, ORIS; Hublot, A. Lange & Söhne, Meistersinger, Tudor

Dr. Pascal Botteron

“In challenging times, a good ESG culture helps, to ride the storm better.”

The environmental, social and leadership aspects are not only decisive for success or failure in the economy, but they are also increasingly becoming a key differentiating factor in the financial industry.

Dr. Pascal Botteron is co-founder and CEO of Green Blue Invest (GBI) SA, a Swiss company dedicated to the development of ESG investment solutions. The core offering of Green Blue Invest is composed of ESG investment products starting their evaluation from the quality of corporate Governance. Before founding Green Blue Invest, Pascal Botteron had been involved in alternatives, risk management, portfolio management and impact investing for the last 25 years in banking, consulting and as an academic. In particular Pascal has occupied several Global Investment roles at Deutsche Bank in Asset and Wealth management based in the UK and Switzerland and has been Professor and/or Lecturer at the University of Lausanne, the Swiss banking School, Thunderbird, the University of Zurich and HEC in Paris.

What does ESG stands for exactly?
ESG is a terminology widely used to define how a corporation is addressing Environmental (E), Social (S), and Governance (G) aspects. The objective behind it, is to set standards to ensure well informed investors can choose to invest in companies that have good ESG characteristics or in other words can invest with purpose. It is interesting to know that it is not a new concept. It first appeared in several research works initiated by the United Nations 15 years ago. The objective of these studies was to highlight that drivers other than financial were – at least – of equal importance when investing in a company. These drivers, such as how a company addresses environmental issues, how it protects its human capital, how it maintains a corporate culture were all mentioned.

Is there a difference between US and Europe in regard to the commitment to ESG?
Today, the Environment aspect is the central element in Europe, whereas it is the Social aspect in the US. This is quite representative of the different society and political challenges faced on the two sides of the Atlantic. The reality in Europe is that climate change is a huge topic, especially after the Paris conference. It is embraced by politicians and many economic leaders following broad influence by voters and new generations. It took probably a decade to reach a wide adoption of ESG by the financial community as there was a misconception that companies who care about ESG, tend to underperform. The history of the last 10 years shows us this is not true. We saw that the fundamental drivers behind a good integrated ESG also contributed to generate market out-performance.

You have a special way to screen companies on ESG criteria – could you explain briefly?
Fundamentally and in its origin, a good ESG investment will assume that the three elements are well addressed when making a decision. Unfortunately, today, the investments tend to address only one or maybe two of the three elements. Our view is that the three aspects should be addressed in an integrated fashion. In this context, the key among the three ESG elements is the G. When a company is well governed, the board will undoubtedly address a good G, a good E and a good S collectively. Recent academic researchers have demonstrated this by proving that well governed companies have better E and S policies.

How can the “G” be measured?
The methodology we have chosen is one based on natural language processing. It is widely accepted in the linguistic and psychology sciences, that the character of an individual can be defined by the language he is using.

For example, someone saying ‘I’ in every sentence will tend to be ego-centric, while someone using ‘We’ will tend to be more a team-player. To extract the quality of governance, we use the same principle by using a proprietary dictionary of 7’000 words, capturing the G but also the E and S dimensions. These words are positive or negative. We study the appearance of these words in the annual reports of companies and based on how frequently they appear, we can statistically extract the quality of the ESG policy of a company. As the board is responsible for the annual reports, this means that we capture the “tone from the top”. In other words, we can pose a diagnostic on its quality of Governance and how it influences the integration of an ESG policy.

At the end of the day performance matters for an investor. How do ESG products perform compared to their benchmark?
I totally agree. We have seen over the last years that ESG indices have outperformed traditional indices. Some investors stress the fact that the absence of oil & gas companies is explaining this, which is partly true, but it only represents a small contribution. We believe the key is the fact that the majority of companies with true and honest ESG culture are more resilient and agile. Therefore, they tend to outperform their peers on a regular basis. In 2020, this phenomenon has been amplified showing that, in a period of major crisis, a good ESG culture helps to better weather the storm.

How is the demand for ESG-screened products developing and which investors are interested?
There is a massive shift of assets to ESG products, which is good news. It is forcing all companies to comply with E, S and G. This year we saw net-positive flows to ESG funds, while we saw net-negative flows to non-ESG funds.

Many reasons explain this movement. Firstly, many governments have set in place rules to force institutional investors to invest in ESG products and countries like France, Sweden and The Netherlands are leading the charge. Also, many banks are responding to the demand of the new generations – the millennials – who adhere to the need for a change including a change in the way to invest. The trend has been embraced and now there is a need to respond to this demand with more product solutions.

How long do you think it takes companies to adapt to ESG?
The transition will most likely experience an acceleration in the next months and years, but a lot remains to be done. Depending on the countries, it will take a few years to a few decades. The recent outperformance of ESG products vs non ESG products is definitely a trigger to this acceleration. To continue this trend, there are three elements that are essential: first, a good education process to ensure everyone from investors to decision-makers understand how to implement a good ESG culture; second, adoption of industry standards, ensuring that all ESG products respond to ESG rules; third, support the development of a new fully-dedicated ESG industry. In other words, there is a need for more ESG products, more ESG consultants, more ESG product managers to respond to the transition.

ESG ist jetzt im Trend. Was passiert, wenn sich die Unternehmen schnell umstellen und ESG plötzlich alltäglich wird?
It would be perfect! It means we would have done our job. Our objective is to force companies to do well. The reality is different as the vast majority of companies, investors and politicians have not sincerely embraced the concept.

Our belief is that the change will start with board members of all companies being engaged.

In your views, what are the three major challenges faced today to have the financial industry transition fully to ESG?
The ESG industry is still new and still considered as niche by many investors. We are at a turning point as some of the largest institutional investors and ultra-high net worth individuals have started to fully implement ESG. In this context, it will be essential to have a financial industry developing good ESG products, consultants ensuring these products respond to ESG standards, and an integration of the three ESG elements with a clear market outperformance objective.

Photos Copyrights: © Green Blue Invest Portrait Dr. Botteron, Shutterstock