Dezeen Magazine

Vienna Design Week partners with Dezeen for a live talk on empowering artisans in central Asia and southeastern Europe

Vienna designers Mischer'traxler were among the panellists in a live conversation for Vienna Design Week that explored how Austrian initiative Co/rizom supports traditional craftspeople around the world.

Called Experiences From the Frontline, the talk focused on the strategies Co/rizom is using to help preserve vanishing crafts from Uzbekistan, Georgia, Bosnia and Albania.

Co/rizom is a Vienna-based social enterprise that aims to equip small manufacturers with the necessary digital tools, knowledge and connections for engaging with international brands.

Portrait of Co/rizom co-founder Nadja Zerunian
Co/rizom co-founder Nadja Zerunian will feature on the panel

"Co/rizom uses design principles and product development methods, as well as simple but effective branding and marketing strategies, to help artisans form small social enterprises and become suppliers to retailers," the talk's curators told Dezeen.

The panel discussion was filmed in Vienna and moderated remotely from London by Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs.

The first half of the talk consisted of a conversation with Co/rizom co-founder Nadja Zerunian and Mischer'traxler's Katarina Mischer and Thomas Traxler, who collaborated with Co/rizom as mentors to artisans.

Portrait of Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler from Mischer‘traxler studio
The talk will also feature Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler from Austrian design studio Mischer‘traxler

Zerunian set up Co/rizom in 2018 with Alina Serban after spending a decade as a senior designer for international corporations such as Georg Jensen, Calvin Klein and The Swatch Group.

Alongside her work with Co/rizom, Zerunian is also a creative consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.

She also advises the Erste Foundation Roma Partnership program, which is an alliance of non-governmental organisations from central and southeastern Europe that aims to empower Roma communities through social entrepreneurship.

Portrait of photographer Pauline Thurn und Taxis
Photographer Pauline Thurn und Taxis will take part in the second half of the discussion

Katarina Mischer and Thomas Traxler founded the Vienna-based design studio Mischer'traxler in 2009.

The pair met while studying undergraduate degrees in Product and Furniture Design at NDC St.Pölten in Austria and Kingston University in London.

Mischer and Traxler both went on to study for their masters at Design Academy Eindhoven before establishing Mischer'traxler upon graduating.

The studio develops products, furniture and installations that focus on experimentation, context and conceptual thinking.

Portrait of photographer Mark Glassner
Photographer Mark Glassner will share his work for Co/rizom

In the second half of the talk, photographers Pauline Thurn und Taxis and Mark Glassner discussed their involvement with Co/rizom.

Pauline Thurn und Taxis is a photojournalist who studied at the Ecole 75 in Brussels, where she received the jury award for her thesis project.

Since graduating, Thurn und Taxis has worked in various areas of photography but has chosen to focus on the quiet and artistic side of her craft.

Photographer Mark Glassner has a background in art, having studied the subject at university in London.

His catalogue of work includes a photographic series on synchronised swimmers in Austria, a hat collection for Austrian fashion designer Arnold Haas and a series of portraits of Austrian actor Johannes Krisch.

Vienna Design Week runs from 25 September until 4 October, with many events taking place online due to the coronavirus pandemic. See Dezeen Events Guide for details of more architecture and design events.