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Anyone visiting Vienna today will encounter a fascinating blend of tradition and innovation. Old has not been dispelled by new, and a young creative scene has injected avant-garde qualities into the venerable city of culture and the arts

. Vienna was the creative nucleus of Europe back at the start of the 20th century, when Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, Kolo Moser, Adolf Loos, and Gustav Klimt heralded in the great age of Austrian Modernism. Traditional Viennese enterprises such as Augarten Porcelain Manufactory and glassware specialists Lobmeyr were quick to spot the potential of the creative movement. They drew on designs by eminent artists of their day including Josef Hoffmann, Michael Powolny, Franz von Zülow and other Wiener Werkstätte names.

In the 21st century Vienna has once again become a crucible of creativity. Exciting innovations are blossoming at the interfaces of art and design, traditional crafts and new technologies. The now classic designs by Hoffmann et al are still being produced by traditional businesses in Vienna, but they are now joined by refreshing new ideas by other young artists.  A fine example is Trinkservice Nr. 248, a drinks service produced by J. & L. Lobmeyr according to designs set down on paper by Adolf Loos in 1931. To mark the 80th anniversary of the set, Lobmeyr has commissioned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister to rework the glasses. Loos once suggested adding miniature figure to decorate the base of the glasses. Sagmeister, who made a name for himself with CD covers for the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and Talking Heads, has now put a contemporary slant on this old idea. In partnership with New York-based fellow graphic designer Jessica Walsh he has come up with 14 different designs for the tumblers: seven of the images depict the seven deadly sins, and the remainder show the seven virtues.

In Vienna, the traditional strains of the waltz are increasingly accompanied by the resonant beats of electronic music. Creative industries are invigorating the city with new music, innovative design and trendy fashions. A powerful impression of Vienna’s creative products is given by presentation platforms such as art festival Viennafair, the festival for fashion & photography and Vienna Design Week. The sound:frame festival, now in its sixth year, is dedicated to the theory and practice of audiovisual art forms.

Held every September, Viennafair can be regarded as an incubator and showcase for young galleries from Central, South and Eastern Europe. Each year, some 100 galleries exhibit artworks by as many as 1,500 artists. Vienna’s gallery hotspots Eschenbachgasse and Schleifmühlgasse are represented, as are numerous exhibitors from abroad with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe (www.viennafair.at).

Fashion is what events staged by “Unit F büro für mode” are all about. Its “festival for fashion & photography”, which generally takes place in late May/early June, impressively puts the spotlight on Vienna’s creative scene, as do the individual events during this festival (www.unit-f.at).

The Vienna Design Week plays out at various locations throughout the city, shedding light on design from a number of different angles. In addition to the products themselves this festival looks at the creative process and production requirements. This has helped the Vienna Design Week – held for the first time in 2007 – rapidly establish itself as a mainstay of the city’s fall cultural calendar (www.viennadesignweek.at).

Fashion from Vienna: Everything but Traditional

Wendy & Jim: Big in Japan

www.wendy-jim.com

Wendy & Jim is Vienna’s biggest fashion success story since Helmut Lang. Their avant-garde designs can be seen at the world’s most important fashion shows, and since 2003 they have been members of the “Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode”. Hermann Fankhauser and Helga Schania sum up their credo: “We do more than just present garments. We create an attitude toward life.” For years now, the biggest run on the creations by Wendy & Jim has been witnessed in Japan, where the trend to avant-garde fashion is obviously more pronounced than in Europe.

Susanne Bisovsky: Haute Couture, Punk and Traditional Trachten Fashion

Salon privé Seidengasse 13/6, 1070 Vienna (by appointment), www.bisovsky.com

Susanne Bisovsky studied under Vivienne Westwood and Helmut Lang, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac called her to Paris as a newcomer. “There is nothing less fashionable than the current height of fashion,” sums up the fashion creator’s approach to her craft. This stance has led her to draw inspiration from distinctly local details. Bisovsky effortless combines motifs that occur in folk costume with high-end fashion or even consciously sets them against traditional punk elements. Her haute couture portfolio includes collections such as Trachtencouture Trachtenpunk and Wiener Chic. She continues to enhance her reputation as a prêt-à-porter couturist with lines such as Mitgift. Now in its third evolution, Mitgift has since extended its commercial success to Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. In line with her seemingly anachronistic approach to fashion Susanne Bisovsky presents her designs in a 200 square meter boutique, aptly named Salon privé. As the name suggests, opening hours are by appointment only.

superated: Synergistic Store

“Samstag”, Margaretenstrasse 46, 1040 Vienna, www.samstag-shop.com

superated’s fashion makes a statement with its clean lines, quality materials and original cut – all of which create a timeless yet modern look. superated (Peter Holzinger, Bertrand Kirschenhofer, Christian Moser) has established itself as an ultra fashionable label, now with its own store, Samstag, in Vienna’s Margaretenstrasse. In keeping with the synergistic concept, the store also stocks items from other designers.

Ute Ploier: Menswear by a Lady

Ute Ploier, Rüdigergasse 8/3, 1050 Vienna, www.uteploier.com

Ute Ploier specializes in Men’s Fashions. In 2003, at the age of 27, she was the first Austrian female designer to win the renowned Prix Hommes for the best men’s collection at the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères with her “Noli me tangere” line. Ute Ploier’s men’s collection is one of convincing and captivating high-tech aesthetics and avant-garde tone. Ute Ploier’s creations are also to be found at Selfridges in London and Walter Van Beirendonck’s “Walter Shop” outlet in Antwerp. A sample sale is held at her workshop twice a year, for precise details please check the newsletter.

Anna Aichinger: Fashion for Feminine Alpha Females

Anna Aichinger, Weihburggasse 16/3, 1010 Vienna, www.annaaichinger.com

Anna Aichinger describes her line as fashion for “alpha women who do not shy away from a position of power, or taking on the world in their own inimitable way – through their talent, dedication and style”. This is evident in the clean lines of her designs which center around a new interpretation of fashion basics in natural colours. Alongside strong design, Aichinger attaches great importance to high-quality fabrics and fair production conditions. In Vienna her collections can be found at Nachbarin, the shop for European fashion design (Gumpendorfer Strasse 17, 1060 Vienna, www.nachbarin.co.at), Amicis (Seilerstätte 11, 1010 Vienna) and Be A Good Girl (Westbahnstrasse 5A, 1070 Vienna, www.beagoodgirl.com).


Petar Petrov Menswear: Bulgaria, Vienna, Paris

www.petarpetrov.com

From Bulgaria to the Paris Fashion Week via the University of Vienna – this is Petar Petrov’s CV in a nutshell. His trademark pared-down designs, sometimes startling use of color and a passion for offbeat details – such as asymmetrical pleats and folds – have given him a deeply characteristic style of his own. In June 2004 Petrov was added to the official Paris Fashion Week show calendar and has been a constant presence in the French capital ever since. His résuméperfectly illustrates just how at home the Viennese creative scene is as a bridge between East and West. The designer cites echoes of his Eastern European roots and cues taken from his immediate surroundings as the greatest sources of inspiration in his work.

Accessories: Artistic Bodywear & Headgear

Ina Kent: bags that work

Lindengasse 46 & Siebensterngasse 50, 1070 Vienna, www.inakent.at

“Bags tell stories” is Ina Kent’s motto. The Vienna-based designer sees her bags as more than solitary objects, approaching them instead as a kind of versatile accessory to be combined at will with other pieces. After a well-thought out design language, the success of the individual pieces hinges on the highest quality finish and materials. Ina Kent dispenses with extraneous details, and allows functionality to set the agenda. The term understatement could well be applied here, but the bags readily demonstrate that good design seldom needs to be spectacular. On her website the designer shows how her creations can be simply “remodeled” and carried in a host of different ways.

Florian Ladstätter: Jewelry for Kate Moss

www.florian-design.com

“I come from a culture that has always regarded jewelry as art and had it on display,” says Florian Ladstätter. But Ladstätter is not satisfied with this alone; he sees his works as more than just autonomous objects: “The applied dimension is much more exciting than a piece of jewelry worn to playfully adorn the body.” He is sure to gain international renown: supermodel Kate Moss has already showcased his creations in the glossy magazine “W.”

With the “Vienna Jewels” series, Ladstätter presents interpretations of well-known pieces of Vienna’s cultural heritage. The series is not just about simple depiction; he wants to capture the aesthetic and atmosphere of buildings such as Schönbrunn Palace and the Secession, and transfer it to pieces of jewelry.


Mühlbauer: Keep a Cool Head

Mühlbauer Hutmanufaktur, Seilergasse 10, 1010 Vienna, www.muehlbauer.at

The name Mühlbauer has been synonymous with high-quality headwear in Vienna since the beginning of the 20th century. When Klaus Mühlbauer and his sister Marlies took over the family business in 2000, they totally revamped the range. Quality has remained, while seasoned craftsmanship has been given new expression. Avant-garde styles have made Mühlbauer headwear attractive for trendsetters the world over – from Eva Padberg to Yoko Ono. Eighty percent of Mühlbauer hats are exported. In Vienna, Mühlbauer has a studio at Schwedenplatz and also a flagship store designed by architect duo Kühn Malvezzi in Seilergasse. The cool design provides a perfect backdrop for the offbeat designs.

AND_i: Cool and Eyecatching

 Workshop: Hohlweggasse 11/2 (by prior arrangement), 1030 Vienna, www.and-i.net

Anodized aluminium dominates Shimmer, the first collection from jewelry label AND_i. For up-and-coming Vienna jewelry designer Andreas Eberharter, New York and Tokyo are the first stops – after his webshop – on his way to establishing himself internationally. Meanwhile his designs have also graduated to the status of museum pieces with their inclusion in the collection at the MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna. Alongside the quality of the aluminum, AND_i’s oversize jewelry also stands out for its handcraftsmanship and uncompromising design. AND_i jewelry is available in Vienna at artup (Bauernmarkt 8, 1010 Vienna, www.artup.at), or, by prior arrangement, in person at the designer’s workshop.

eva blut accessories: innovatively mixing materials

www.evablut.com

Founded in 1998, this label is about innovative collections that blur the border between clothing and accessories. New product range “eva blut – favourite companions” uses an original mix of materials, combining mesh with leather – resulting in light, flexible and durable bags and accessories, which underline the personal style of the wearer and can be worn in a variety of ways. Available in Vienna at Tiberius (Lindengasse 2, 1070 Vienna, www.tiberius.at).

Design: Unconventional, Glamorous & Practical

Walking Chair: Oblique Design

Walking-Chair, Rasumofskygasse 10, 1030 Vienna, www.walking-chair.com

Walking Chair designers Karl-Emilio Pircher and Fidel Peugeot aspire to high ideals: “Good design should entrance you, just as if you were looking at the Mona Lisa.” Their own designs certainly reflect this aim, with products such as the round PingMeetsPong conference table and the Walking Chair. Current ideas revolve around public spaces which Walking Chair intend to upgrade. The medium for this project is called Public Furnitures. These pieces, finished in robust materials, have lines that are cut to the requirements of 21st century users. Comfort, privacy and communication are the guiding principles – in addition to offering protection from the elements these creations feature monitors and WiFi.

Lucy.D: Practical Sculptures

Lucy.D Design, Halbgasse 20/3, 1070, www.lucyd.com

“Simplicity of use is the focus. We take our inspiration from everyday situations which we are constantly observing and reappraising.” This is how designers Barbara Ambrosz and Karin Santorso describe the principle behind their label, LUCY.D. Perhaps there is a hint of an understatement here as the label is a byword for unconventional and experimental design at the interface between practical object and sculpture. The exclusive Ryker and Scott series form the foundation of the collection which will be extended in coming years. Ambrosz and Santorso’s designs have been creating a stir for years. Her Liquid Skin drink bowl made by Vienna glass manufacturer Lobmeyr was added to the permanent design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2000. A year later it was admitted to the Victoria & Albert Museum collection in London. The Ryker porcelain service was included in the International Design Yearbook 2005 and Paul Smith has since added it to his collection.

Das goldene Wiener Herz: clichés reinterpreted

Das goldene Wiener Herz, Dürergasse 23/1, 1060 Vienna, www.dgwh.at

Graphic designers Alexander Dworsky and Ursula Meyer have developed the “Das goldene Wiener Herz” line which is hallmarked by an appreciation of often overlooked details from familiar Viennese design motifs. Their porcelain goblets and drinking glasses take Viennese icons, reinterpret them and sharpen the focus on the city’s details. Otto Wagner’s station building on Karlsplatz, for example, provides the creative spark for one of their porcelain goblet designs. Architecture is not the only inspiration: the “Wiener Heuriger” wine glasses have the traditional shape and classic vine insignia of old style Viennese wine tavern glasses. In contrast to the original, though, the vines are not green, but gold leaf.

Multimedia: Digital High-tech & Analog Cult

Lomographic Society: Global Exposure from Vienna

Lomography Shop Vienna, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.lomography.com

In the beginning there was a Russian 35mm camera, the Lomo. Then a handful of its Viennese fans triggered a cult. Blurred images shot from the hip were suddenly all the rage. The Lomographic Society has since emerged as a worldwide creative community, still run from its Vienna base. The MuseumsQuartier is home to the uniquely unconventional Lomography Shop Vienna. Here you can view the famous Lomo Walls and browse through a vast range of ephemeral products which “nobody needs – but everybody wants to have”.

Music: Cooler than Mozart

musicshop-vienna.com: Unsurpassed Sound Quality, Democratized

www.musicshop-vienna.com, St.-Veit-Gasse 9/8, 1130 Vienna

musicshop-vienna specializes in researching instrument-making, and the production and sale of superior-quality clarinet mouthpieces. As performers in an acclaimed orchestra, the owners have an unrivalled understanding of both the theoretical and practical sides of the business. The sound quality of their clarinet mouthpieces is prized by elite international musicians. New casts for mouthpiece prototypes are currently being developed and manufactured as part of the “interclarinet” project. The ultimate goal is to extend the scope of the project from classical clarinetists to bands, music schools and amateur orchestras.

Couch Records: Music for “Sex and the City”

www.couchrecords.com

Music is becoming more and more important to TV series. By the same token, television series are increasingly crucial to musicians and labels. At a time when sales of audio media are in decline, new sales and distribution channels are all the more vital. Established in 1998, Vienna-based label Couch has already successfully placed music in the top TV series “Six Feet Under” and “Sex and the City”. Exports, particularly to the USA, but also to Japan, are a decisive factor. Couch representatives note: “Vienna is a city of music. It always has been – from Mozart’s day through to the modern age. Yet the market is small, so we have to reach out into the world.” This has also been shown by projects for Apple and Mercedes Benz.

Doblinger: Sheet Music at the Press of a Button from music2print.at

Ludwig Doblinger (Bernhard Herzmansky) KG, Dorotheergasse 10, 1010 Vienna, www.music2print.at

Tradition and innovation – much has been said about the productive interplay between these two opposites. And music2print.at shows how it works. Illustrious Vienna sheet music publisher Doblinger has been a direct partner to countless Austrian composers for almost 130 years, earning it an important place in musical history. For the music2print.at project Doblinger is cleverly making use of the internet to give musicians and music lovers around the world access to sheet music from Austrian composers via a download platform for the very first time. This will help to make the scores more widely available in countries where conventional sheet music distribution networks are inadequate. It also gives people in Europe and North America access to a huge selection of sheet music, extending benefits beyond the composers and their estates.

sound:frame AV: audiovisual HQ

www.soundframe.at

The sound:frame festival puts the art of audiovisual media in the spotlight, showing how VJing and live video performances have long been an integral part of live electronic music. And now this festival has given rise to the sound:frame AV platform, which serves as a repository of knowledge and point of contact for the city’s audiovisual creatives. Activities span everything from one-off events to DVD publications. sound:frame AV recently produced the architectural projections designed by artist group Urbanscreen to mark the tenth anniversary of the MuseumsQuartier. In the majority of cases, electronic and pop music provides the starting point for the AV genre, but classical music also lends itself extremely well to audio-visual productions; the Gustav Mahler Lied Collector’s Edition being a case in point. This seven piece DVD box set contains visualisations of Mahlers songs by annablume, LIA, Luma.Launisch, LWZ, Valence and Victoria Coeln. Avant garde electronic musician Christian Fennesz and Berlin-based video artist Lillevan contributed a Mahler remix to the Mahler box set.

Creative Funding – New Impetus in Vienna

Boasting a rich heritage and a vibrant young creative scene, Vienna is a natural center for the creative industries. Very early on, Vienna identified the importance of these creative businesses and their products, and provides vital impetus in the shape of innovative funding programs. departure is a funding body established by the City of Vienna to support creative ventures – whether avant-garde start-ups or traditional businesses that wish to innovatively reposition themselves. departure also furthers networking among creative enterprises, seeks to promote creativity in the economy, and aids businesses in cooperating with creative professionals (www.departure.at).

The fact that Austrian designers are also making a name for themselves on the international stage is thanks in no small measure to the support given by fashion platform Unit F – büro für mode (www.unit-f.at). In association with the City of Vienna and the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, Unit F provides sustained support to Austrian designers, helping them to map their careers. Both young talent and established designers have the opportunity to apply for various forms of funding. There is also a forum for designers to swap notes. These activities by departure and Unit F have borne fruit in Vienna. The cosmopolitan climate, high quality of life and celebrated joie de vivre of the Austrian capital provide a setting that makes Vienna attractive to creative, highly qualified people from all over the globe.

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