Designers' Saturday in Langenthal – a former tip for insiders has become a major attraction
Students from the faculty of interior design at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. Foto: Susana Bruell
The twelfth Designers' Saturday took place in Langenthal during the weekend from 8 - 9 November. In contrast to the major furniture fairs, Designers' Saturday focuses more on the setting for the products – within the production facilities of the six organisers. It makes a pleasant change, instead of wandering around air-conditioned trade fair halls, to see, hear and smell the quality of the production process itself among the machines and materials. «It means that furniture and objects return to the place where they were created, the factory», says jury member Christoph Gantenbein from the architects Christ & Gantenbein in Zurich.
horgenglarus (Studio Hannes Wettstein)
With elaborate application procedures and a jury, Designers' Saturday encourages its exhibitors to exhibit their brands and products in a suitable setting, because manufacturers who wish to appeal to architects and interior designers also need to master spatial parameters. Perhaps the internet has replaced traditional exhibitions when it comes to the search for new products, which means that their task has been changed to providing a stage for product presentation – apart from the opportunity for personal contacts, of course.
Aqua Creations / Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz
However, is Designers' Saturday perceived as a trade fair at all? Fortunately not, because that's what makes it so successful, especially with architects, who tend to go there looking for inspiration rather than in search of a specific product. Instead of their business cards they bring the family. The result is that the brands on display enter into the affections of the target group, which is often of greater value than the business card of someone visiting a trade fair in a state of stress. The probability that an architect is looking for a particular product just when a trade fair happens to be taking place is low anyway, especially as relatively little time is devoted to the search for furniture and furnishings in the planning process as a whole.
Lista Office AG
As a result Langenthal could be both pleased and worried about its growing popularity. The little town is literally flooded by the international press, together with professional and an increasing numbers of private visitors. Packed buses and crowds of visitors blocking the sometimes narrow corridors through the production halls raise the question of whether Designers' Saturday can be expanded to an unlimited extent, or whether it should be deliberately kept small and exclusive.
Création Baumann (Benjamin Thut)
In addition to 'Blickfang' and 'Neue Räume' this is clearly a premier event for architects, which is why the exhibitors are prepared to accept the elaborate organisation involved, with its applications, jury and expensive installations. The new challenge will therefore probably be to reduce the number of visitors by increasing the show's quality. There is a definite risk that Designers' Saturday will develop from a forum for the architectural and design scene into a trendy attraction for the final customer. That would be fatal, because more and more exhibitors want one thing and one thing only: architects, interior designers and planners.
Ruckstuhl (Atelier Oï)
In spite of the jury and fascinating exhibition premises, it was unfortunately once more the case that not all 58 exhibitors and institutions succeeded in presenting their products in a stylish and effective way. In spite of this the exploration of Designers' Saturday was better than ever, on the back of highlights such as 'horgenglarus' (Studio Hannes Wettstein), 'Ruckstuhl' (Atelier Oï), 'Création Baumann' (Benjamin Thut) and many more.