The Swiss Army Knife is regularly put forward as a leading example of Swiss design. Of course, we are more than proud to be recognised in this way. But we really wanted to talk to experts throughout Switzerland and find out what we have done to deserve this honour. What is it that makes the Swiss Army Knife so “designy”? Why does it represent the core values of Swiss design?
Let’s listen to what some of the most important contemporary Swiss designers have to say.
atelier oï, Architecture and Design Studio
„The understated design of the Swiss Army Knife is consistent with the production approach and the product strategy where the goal is maximum functionality within a minimal space. Symbolic of Swiss design as a whole, the pocket knife was developed with a relevance for local needs, before growing into a global icon.“ – atelier oï, La Neuveville
The architecture and design studio atelier oï was established in 1991 by Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond. They are among Switzerland’s leading designers with a client roster that includes Roethlisberger, USM, B&B Italia, Moroso, Foscarini, Bulgari, Artemide, Pringle of Scotland, Louis Vuitton and Victorinox.
“A distinctive shape, high-quality material and precision workmanship are what usually define a well-designed product. Thus, in an ideal world, products with an unexpectedly relaxed feel often become firm favourites and constant companions. For example, products like the Swiss Army Knife.“
Under her own label, IT’S LAUBER, designer Sabine Lauber creates bracelets with ornamental braiding and collars with a luxurious finish. ANITA MOSER is well-known at home and abroad for her extravagant shoe designs. Both designers, who work out of their shared store/studio in Basel, have already collected numerous awards for their audacious innovations.
“Why is the pocket knife so “designy”? Because it doesn’t try to be! It’s where tradition, function and style meet, and it’s already cool enough so it doesn’t need to try to be cool. The Swiss Army Knife has never strayed far from its roots, it does its job and looks good doing it.“ – Claudia Caviezel, St. Gallen
Claudia Caviezel is a textile designer who works on her own projects as well as doing textile design work for the fashion label AKRIS. Claudia has already won prizes for her work, such as the Lucky Strike Junior Design Award, an IKEA scholarship and the Grand Prix Design Switzerland award.
“Cutting, sawing, screwing, or opening, – all done with an implement that only weighs a few grams and has been in use for more than a century already. It’s a technical and aesthetic masterpiece, a source of inspiration that reaches far beyond our borders.“ – Nicolas Le Moigne, Lausanne
Wallpaper magazine has described Nicolas Le Moigne as one of the “most promising designers of the future”. He works for classic brands such as Eternit and Atelier Pfister, but he also collaborates with galleries from London to Paris. He is also head of the “Luxury & Craftsmanship” course at the ECAL art college in Lausanne.