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The Imaginary Craftsmanship

Oliver Vogt and Herman Weizenegger, partners of the Vogt+Weizenegger design studio, are two young Berlin designers for whom change is both metaphor and method.
That they live by change is immediately apparent from their work. For Vogt and Weizenegger, designing means giving material shape and consistency to ideas that not only become tangible objects but also different methods of producing and marketing. Their most successful project is a totally unconventional manufacturing system: DIM, Die Imaginäre Manufaktur, imaginary manufacturing, (though the products are sold through traditional channels.) The name says it all. “A name is very important”, the two designers assure me. “It’s the first, most immediate vehicle of the project. The name has to convey the aims and describe the process.  Our manufacturing system is imaginary because the project was born out of a social statement, without first making sure there would be a producer company or a reference market. Basically, we wanted to give dignity and modernity to the work done by the blind inmates of a Berlin institute that has been making brushes for 120 years. We believed this unexciting, repetitive job could be made “artistic” with the help of designers attuned to the concept of change. We didn’t want to change the traditional brush-making method, rather harness it to introduce new products designed to do ordinary things So we asked designer friends on our same ideological wave length to concentrate their minds on new items deriving from the brush or manufactures containing bristles”.
That’s how this often wacky list of items came about. And a most disparate list it is. Every article has bristles and can (among other things) be used to brush, sweep and clean. All are available on catalogue. They caused such a stir at Ambiente in Frankfurt and the Salone del Mobile di Milano that the Institute decided to start small scale production, which immediately found selective distribution channels. The original...

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