An unusual liaison of material and function: pan and brush made from horn and pig hair by bespoke craftsmen.
The concept of the Passionswege ("pilgrimage ways") program—an integral part of Vienna Design Week—is to connect designers with local Viennese producers and businesses in order to enforce the exchange of expertise, the preservation and further development of knowledge and the virtuosity in craftsmanship and manufacturing.
The brush manufacturer Norbert Meier is one of the last of his trade (here holding up an untreated buffalo horn from Thomas Petz, the last Viennese producer of horn ware).
This particular Passionswege project deals with the work of two handicrafts that hardly exist anymore: the brush manufacturer Norbert Meier is one of the last of his trade still possessing a master craftsman's diploma. In contrast, Thomas Petz, only 26 years of age, is the last Viennese producer of horn ware.
An intriguing and incredibly soft make-up powder brush was one of the results of this project.
Polish-born designer, curator, scenographer and design blogger Matylda Krzykowski was invited to work with both manufactories to design a series of products to be produced with these two handicrafts that are at the brink of disappearance.
The hair for the brushes is imported from China. It used to be locally sourced—until literally over night China dropped the prices for the material to a fraction of the local price, which put all local businesses out of business.
The outcome are timeless pieces that compel through their formal simplicity. Krzykowski kept the horn as much as possible in its naturally grown shape, only treated the surface to reveal the intrinsic beauty of the material. The fascination lies in experiencing how well these natural shapes work—not only aesthetically, but also ergonomically and functionally.
Ana Berlin, the VDW Lady of Press, enjoying the softness of the horn powder brush.