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With the beginning of autumn numerous exciting art and design events will again be taking place, for example the Vienna Fashion Week, followed by the now internationally recognised Vienna Design Week and the Vienna Contemporary Art Fair. They all transform the city of Vienna, which is otherwise popular for its music and culture, into a trendy "City of Design". But not only traditional Viennese handicraft enterprises like J.&L. Lobmeyr, the Brothers Thonet and Backhausen shape the international design image of the city, but also numerous small manufactories and ateliers. I am always surprised to see how much passion for traditional handicrafts, respectively how much visionary power is behind the product innovations here.
Today I am going to take you on a small tour through Vienna and provide you with some brief insights into handicraft businesses and workshops, be it fashion and accessories or art and culinary delights. Some of them are now among my favourite stores when I'm looking for very special gifts or want to dress in fashion "made in Vienna". Others I have recently just discovered myself, such as Thomas Poganitsch’s workshop atelier. In your opinion, what belongs to a typical Viennese coffee house (with the exception of coffee and cake of course!)? In addition to the precious Lobmeyr chandeliers and the old bentwood Thonet chairs? That’s it! The good old classic newspaper holder! I wasn't aware of this myself but this has been handmade true to the original since 1867 – in various sizes, depending on the format of the daily newspaper – and shipped worldwide.
Or that Thomas Zelenka, a passionate beekeeper, not only keeps beehives in the Vienna Woods but also on one or the other roof of a Viennese museum and produces high-quality Viennese honey from them.
Particularly in the hip 7th district of Vienna, small ateliers and showrooms for fine fashion and contemporary accessories have sprung up in the last few years. Their designers like to be inspired by international trends and visit the relevant fairs, still however have all their designs produced in and around Vienna in small manufactories. Very often they only use valuable, locally produced materials and fabrics.
Even if often based on old, traditional Viennese recipes, contemporary craftsmanship also goes through the stomach or even finds its way into the bathroom. Former perfumes of the K&K (“imperial and royal”) monarchy are still blended in Vienna to create high-quality fragrances, the dying craft of the Viennese soap factory is still alive or the Venetian art of glassblowing is combined with Viennese design. Behind all these handmade products there is a great love of detail.
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