Exploring the magical conversation between Mankind and Nature
Perrier-Jouët’s latest commissioned design work, Ephemerā’ by mischer’traxler, was revealed at Design Miami/ 2014. Exploring traditional craftsmanship, modern technology, the ephemerality of nature, and the Art Nouveau movement, mischer’traxler has captured the very essence of Perrier-Jouët with its own unique interpretation.
‘Ephemerā’ is the opening work of a new, year-long artistic residency with the Vienna-based duo and the historic champagne house, entitled ‘Small Discoveries’. The collaboration has been designed to stimulate curiosity, exploring the magical dialogue between Mankind and Nature. Small Discoveries, an innovative series of original works to be revealed throughout 2015 with exclusive limited editions.
‘Ephemerā’ stands out at Design Miami/2014 owing to its unique combination of playfulness and sincerity. It sparks curiosity and enchants the audience with a delicate game of hide-and-seek, played out through a mechanical ornamental garden. Comprising a room with a large oak table and two mirrors, the elegant furniture pieces come alive with colourful metal plants and insects that represent current, extinct and rediscovered species. Representing nature’s lively, deferential relationship with mankind, plants rise up and move to their own choreography, if they ‘feel’ they are not being watched. When someone approaches, they ‘hide’ and fold back into the table, reinventing a kinetic form of traditional marquetry. Similarly, digital leaves grow across the mirrors extending into 3D forms, but only as long as people are not too close. Otherwise they retract, leaving just a normal, reflective mirror.
This fleeting moment and sense of untouchable closeness are at the heart of the ‘Ephemerā’ installation. People discover that their interaction has a direct impact on the installation, acting as an allegory to our ongoing dialogue with nature in the real world.
‘Ephemerā’ is the result of a detailed design process. mischer’traxler dedicated time into researching the Art Nouveau period, flora and fauna, and the human emotions of celebration and curiosity. During a visit to Perrier-Jouët in Epernay, for example, the duo found inspiration in the marquetry of the house’s furniture collection, while research into Art Nouveau technology inspired the mechanics behind the motors.
“We chose mischer’traxler for our first, year-long residency as we felt there was a natural synergy between us. At Perrier-Jouët, we are eternally inspired by the Art Nouveau ethos of celebrating beauty and the natural world, whilst valuing craftsmanship and infusing art into the everyday. Katharina and Thomas’ work brings this essence to life. ‘Ephemerā’ is made with integrity, and is thought-provoking. For us it also marks a return to the decorative object, which is something really close to our hearts”. Axelle de Buffévent, Style Director for Perrier-Jouët.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to create Ephemerā, and to experience Design Miami/. It has been wonderful to work with such an open commission from Perrier-Jouët. We have pushed our practice and done completely new things, but also it is an honest work for us, and we are very happy. But seeing everyone’s reaction to Ephemerā is the best bit so far. That’s when it really comes alive!” mischer’traxler.
This is the third year that Perrier-Jouët has revealed an original commission first at Design Miami/. A continuation of the brand’s support of young designers, these partnerships demonstrate the brand’s belief in infusing art in the everyday experience. Each new commission joins the Perrier-Jouët collection at The Maison Belle Epoque, which hosts the world’s largest private collection of original French Art Nouveau pieces. In its role as a patron of design art, Perrier-Jouët is carefully adding new pieces to sit alongside its beautiful heritage pieces and ‘Ephemerā’ ultimately will join this collection.
Katharina mischer (b.1982) and Thomas traxler (b.1981) founded Studio mischer’traxler in 2009. Based in Vienna, the exceptional design duos develop products, furniture and kinetic installations, merging artisanal craftsmanship with cutting edge technology. Inspired by conceptualism and experimentation, their work challenges the status quo and muses on the emotional, environmental and philosophical nature of what makes good design. They begin each project with a unique, hypothetical approach: to examine, experiment, analyse and reject. mischer’traxler’s works are represented in the permanent collections of The Art Institute Chicago, the Vitra Design Museum and the MAK Vienna. They have also exhibited at the Boijmans van Boiningen, The Design Museum London, The Triennale Milano, Cafa Art Museum Bejing, Mudac Lausanne as well as at international festivals and fairs. Their work has won several awards, such as the Wu Guanzhong Art & Science Innovation Award 2012, the Austrian Experimental Design Award 2009, an honorary mention at Prix ArsElectronica 2009 and the DMY-Award 2009. As a studio, mischer’traxler was honoured with the 'W-hotels designer of the future award' by Design Miami/Basel and W-hotels in 2011 and recently with the 'Young talent award' by the Be-open foundation.
Perrier-Jouët is an iconic champagne house with an exceptional vineyard. It is known for the finesse, floral and elegant notes of its wines, fashioned with the expertise of only seven Cellar Masters since its foundation in 1811. Since its 1902 collaboration with Art Nouveau pioneer Emile Gallé, creator of the anemone design for the house’s Belle Epoque prestige cuvée, Perrier-Jouët has commissioned work from established and emerging artists including Daniel Arsham, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Miguel Chevalier, Makoto Azuma, Tord Boontje, Studio Glithero and Simon Heijdens.