What design is really about
What do a skirt by Lena Hoschek, eyewear by Andy Wolf and an outdoor sofa by Viteo have in common? Due to their form and function, they are all high-quality goods that stick out. Their smart, unique design is the key in terms of differentiation and competition. Further, they are all invented and made in Styria, according to the credo ‘Created in Styria – produced in Styria – sold worldwide’. Now those exceptional pieces are shown in the course of an exhibition on the site of the company XTEC in St.Margarethen an der Raab. From November 22 to 30, 2018, the showcase ‘Styrian Products’ displays about 40 works of successful Styrian designers who operate worldwide. You can see fashion pieces and accessories, furniture, interior design objects and even examples of product and packaging design. The exhibits, such as Eyewear by Andy Wolf, a seating arrangement by Georg Mähring (for ADA), a high-end speaker by Thomas Feichtner (for Poet Audio) or a table lamp by XAL, come with sketches and models. Hence, you can retrace the entire process, from the assignment to the final product, which helps you relate to design in its very own function: being a part of product development, an innovative driver and a guarantee for economic success.
So much more than just an exhibition
Still, do not label ‘Styrian Products’ as a kind of Styrian design patriotism, for it does reflect a much broader and more profound change in terms of production and marketing processes. The truth is that in times of globalization and digitalization quality from good design can actually originate from any place. It is not just metropolises like London, Berlin, Paris or New York, where design can bloom, but also towns like Feldbach, Poellau, Hollenegg or St. Margarethen an der Raab. Thus, the project ‘Styrian Products’ offers a broad spectrum by being an exhibition as well as a networking platform and a digital market place. The showcase will travel the Styrian regions within the next years and will put a focus on local companies and creative service providers. Each stop will be staged at a local business, which is at the same time hosting a networking event so that economic partners and creative professionals can interact. Additionally, the digital platform keeps growing, presenting all exhibited products online, providing links and hence positioning the Styrian goods worldwide.
It is about understanding design
All those activities aim at providing access to the creative industries and especially to design, and at getting rid of the mystique of being something aloof and expensive, something reserved for the elite. Therefore, it is also essential to raise awareness for the value of creative work from an early age on. The showcase ‘Styrian Products’ does for example also visit selected regional schools in order to broach the issue of design and make young people aware that design is not just a nice add-on but an essential part of developing a product. People need to understand its innovative drive. ‘A creative work is always a kind of innovation, for when you create something you always make something new’ says Eberhard Schrempf, managing director of the networking organization Creative Industries Styria, responsible for the ‘Styrian Products’ project. Thus, an innovative business location like Styria does actually need creative outputs and creative newcomers in order to succeed economically. Due to its reputation as a creative and innovative hub, there is a certain kind of pressure on companies in terms of innovation, which increases the value of and the demand for creative work. ‘Styrian Products’ would like to use this positive energy by accompanying and keeping records of Styrian design. It does tell success stories, discuss topics of design and reflect economic views. Thereby, it establishes design and creativity as core areas for a successful economic site.