ÉCAL students design seasonal objects for time-themed exhibition

Milan 2015: students from Swiss design school ÉCAL collaborated with craftspeople to present time-related objects in an exhibition at the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi in Milan (+ slideshow).

Mentored by experimental design duo Formafantasma, 12 students on the Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship MA course at ÉCAL (École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne) worked with Swiss craftsmen to create a collection of functional pieces.

Romantic Adventure by Alexis Tourron
Romantic Adventure by Alexis Tourron

The projects were presented at Museo Bagatti Valsecchi in Milan's city centre during the design week earlier this month, in an exhibition titled Arts&Crafts&Design: Time according to ECAL and Swiss Craftsmen.

"The aim of the workshop has been to guide the students to generate ideas via research and a profound understanding of the qualities, the tradition and the relation with locality that every single craft has," Formafantasma's Andrea Trimarchi told Dezeen.

Natura Morta by Nicolas Lalande
Natura Morta by Nicolas Lalande

"In this respect the challenge as mentors has been to push the students to avoid nostalgia and to use design as a pragmatic tool to reveal the contemporary relevance of craft," he added.

The project was supported by Swiss watch brand Vacheron Constantin and each of the designs was intended to relate to one of the four seasons, linking back to the overarching theme of time.

Spring Explosion by Jean-Baptiste Colleuille
Spring Explosion by Jean-Baptiste Colleuille. Photograph by Axel Crettenand

For Spring, Alexis Tourron created a picnic bag comprising cylindrical compartments made from different materials. Made with a saddler, leather straps tie the sections together and also allow the design to be worn as a backpack while hiking.

Desert by Josefina Munoz
Desert by Josefina Munoz

A glass blower helped Nicolas Lalande create a set of tinted vases, which includes a large cylindrical vessel and a smaller conical flask. Jean-Baptiste Colleuille formed a series of mechanical mobiles called Spring Explosion.

Summer Breeze by Ophelia Sanga
Summer Breeze by Ophelia Sanga

Among the objects relating to Summer are a set of plates fired to create cracks across the surface like parched earth, designed by Josefina Munoz with a ceramicist.

Light Dependent Object by Kaja Solgaard Dahl
Light Dependent Object by Kaja Solgaard Dahl

Ophelia Sanga made a paper fan with delicate patterns cut out from its overlapping leaves, while Kaja Solgaard Dahl assembled a series of small stained-glass partitions – connected and held vertical by horizontal brass rods.

Decrescendo by Lorena Sauras
Decrescendo by Lorena Sauras

Moving on to Autumn, Lorena Sauras paired with a stringed-instrument maker to create a musical box that plays when upright slats mounted on a disk are rotated.

La Macina by Stefano Panterotto
La Macina by Stefano Panterotto

Stefano Panterotto developed a minimal grain mill with a stone carver and Mareike Rittig used marquetry to create patterns across the surface of a wooden tray.

Repetitio by Mareike Rittig
Repetitio by Mareike Rittig

Finally for Winter, a marble disk was carved to form a reflective surface for an LED lamp by Annie Tung.

Eclipse by Annie Tung
Eclipse by Annie Tung

Working at a metal foundry, Inimfon Archibong sculpted a pair of freestanding table mirrors from aluminium that was left rough around the base and back but polished on the front to form the flat reflective surfaces.

Untitled by Inimfon Archibong
Untitled by Inimfon Archibong. Photograph by Axel Crettenand

Rodrigo Caula collaborated with a carbon-fibre expert to create an axe, a knife and a length of rope.

He layered the carbon fibre and then cut the material so patterns similar to timber grain became visible across the head of the axe.

The New Age by Rodrigo Caula
The New Age by Rodrigo Caula

All the pieces will also be presented in the Swiss pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, set to open 1 May.

Also in Milan earlier this month, ECAL's photography and product design students paired up to create interactive objects and installations that investigated the selfie phenomenon.

Photography is by Jonas Marguet, unless otherwise stated.