How do users and craftspeople enter into a dialogue via an object, ideally on an equal basis? What connects them? What relationships bind craftspeople together? What remains stored as history in an object of utility? On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald all member firms were invited to choose and present something “handcrafted” from the workshop of another craftsperson.
The chosen objects might have been a deliberate purchase, a gift, or an exchange. Primary relevance was placed on their history as a piece of handicraft and their relation to the workshop where they were produced. The objects are agents, variously transporting reciprocal esteem, regional value creation, and social and economic interrelations – and thus the fields of cooperative action – in the Werkraum Bregenzerwald and beyond. The presentation on a long table enables the objects to enter into dialogue with one another, as though round a table commune, a communal table. The comments and stories relating to the objects – which can be accessed through an audio guide – convey the multiformity and heterogeneity of the cooperative activities.
Martin Bereuter, craftsman and chairman of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald, tells you more about the exhibition in the audio guide (only German available): Kapitel 01_Informationen zur Ausstellung (Chapter 01_Information on the Exhibition).
Idea and concept
Project management, exhibition organisation and sound recordings
The Werkraum Bregenzerwald is a cooperative consisting of more than ninety regional craft companies. On the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, the association is setting up a review and preview of its activities in a DIALOGUE WORKSHOP.
The DIALOGUE WORKSHOP offers a public discussion forum on the craft cooperative’s current fields of activity. The association’s previous and also future development will be discussed in dialogue format in the context of the region and within a general sustainable development of crafts and society heading towards a social and ecological change. With an eye on the future, light will also be shed on where the member enterprises see themselves positioned at the interface between handicraft, the building trade, arts & crafts, manufacture and producer, and what this signifies for design, education and the market as fields of action.
As background programme, the Werkraumhaus is showing exhibitions and presentations of past and present cooperative projects.
The Werkraumschule Bregenzerwald (Werkraumschool) is a pilot training project for vocational orientation in crafts and trade. The cooperative project was started in 2016 by the Werkraum Bregenzerwald and the Bezau Wirtschaftsschulen (BWS – Commercial Colleges); it is structured into five school grades with a curriculum covering commercial and dual vocational training in crafts. Training takes place in the BWS, the craft workshops in the region and temporarily in this “Learning Lab”.
The five years of the Werkraumschule act as a seamless transition between secondary school and apprenticeship, supported by coaching and practical experience in the regional craft companies. An intensive vocational orientation phase and individual support in the first three years help in the choice of occupation. The curriculum includes general education, commercial and creative basics and a broad-based knowledge of crafts and skills.
In the Learning Lab set up here the pupils get together each week for their training in crafts. The location is ideal for knowledge- and experience-sharing with the focus on an active approach and dialogue. Furthermore, children and young people, visitors, member companies and guests are invited to discover the “open workshop” in the Werkraumhaus and to take part hands-on themselves.
The Werkraumschule Bregenzerwald is supported by the State of Vorarlberg, the Vorarlberg Chamber of Commerce, the Vorarlberg Chamber of Labour, the Regio Bregenzerwald, the Federal Ministry of Education, also the partner enterprises and private sponsors such as Würth and the Hypo Spendenfonds.
As pilot activity, the further development of the Werkraumschule is part of the project DuALPlus, which is co-financed by the Alpine Region Programme within the European Regional Development Fund.
Made in is a research, design and heritage initiative encouraging collaboration and knowledge exchange between traditional craftsmen and contemporary designers. The aim of the project is to revitalize crafts tradition and educate designers about material and immaterial heritage, thus creating new, authentic and more sustainable face of contemporary design.
The Made in project aims to promote European craft heritage and innovative contemporary design to general public. The goal of the project is to establish knowledge exchange platforms, constructive dialogue, and ultimately, new collaborative practices between craftsmen and designers.
Made in emerged from the heightened awareness of the crucial role that traditional crafts and manufactories play in creating and sustaining local and European identity. Particularly in this age of globalization, the crafts – tightly woven into the fabric of local communities – present a way to preserve local identity and local distinctiveness. Furthermore, the craft production supports sustainable practices using locally sourced materials and encouraging re-usage / repair of existing products and thus promoting slow consumption (versus today’s age of excess).
However, craft workshops and craftsmen are disappearing from urban environments, expelled by overwhelming quantities of cheap “made in China” products. The craft and small manufacturing productions do not find a place within the contemporary designer practices. This is mostly due to the lack of direct exposure of new generations to the values, specifics and histories of these crafts, which present an essential part of any culture.
WHO (THE PARTNERS) Austria: Werkraum Bregenzerwald
Croatia: Museum of Arts and Crafts (leading partner), Oaza Studio
Serbia: Nova Iskra – Creative hub, Mikser
Slovenia: Museum of Architecture and Design Supported by CREATIVE EUROPE – CULTURE
What design principles might we learn from nature that can be applied to designing, producing and managing life in a resource-efficient and sustainable way? The exhibition tells the story of a tree’s eco-system and thereby demonstrates nature’s strategies and patterns that have been envolving for more than 3.8 thousand million years.
The audience is introduced to the framework and the practice of biomimicry by learning from ordinary and innovative applications in various crafts and design professions. This transdisciplinary exhibition project is underpinned by extensive collaborative research and oriented toward educating all stakeholders. Thus, the exhibition brings together science, crafts and artistic production in an
inspiring learning lab for the whole family.
Elisabeth Kopf, Project- and Communicationdesigner, Design Buero Baustelle
Regina Rowland, Professor and Biomimicry-Expert
Timo Kopf (Zoologist), Christian Rammel (Ecologist) and Birgit Gschweidl (Botanist)
Opening hours: Tue – Sat, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sun, Mon and public holidays closed
Reductions (Students, Apprentice, 15 People and more): EUR 5
The second Werkraumschau has products on show from various workshops of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald – among them several new members – in a spotlit scenario.
The Werkraumhaus designed by Peter Zumthor as a multi-functional building becomes the stage and the handicrafts the actors in a continually changing play of daylight and artificial light. Stage flood- and spotlights generate an immaterial and atmospheric architecture of light, mount the objects in the space, infuse life into their surfaces and forms, and trace a graphical shadowplay on the floor of the building.