Katherina Mischer and Thomas Traxler are presenting a blanket and a sketchbook at the Istanbul Design Biennial 2014, forming the start of a collection entitled Knowledge-Tools-Memory. Neither item has any extra decoration – so the illustrated instructions, drawn by graphic designer Brigitte Höfler, provide the only adornment. Related story: Collective Works by Mischer’Traxler
In societies where few people know how everyday objects are produced, the designers wanted to question whether the perceived value of an object changes if the owner understands the processes involved in its manufacture. The blanket is made from wool and is large enough to comfortably cover a person. “The decoration is the instruction and becomes therefore functional,” said Mischer. Istanbul Design Biennial 2014: these objects designed by Austrian studio Mischer’Traxler are equipped with both the tools and instructions required for reproducing them (+ slideshow). An extra strip along the bottom incorporates a row of pockets each assigned to a different tool, from a comb used to groom sheep to scissors. “The project should encourage a rethink of individual abilities and also show the ability of everyone to be able to produce basic things.”
Mischer’Traxler, who often address the production process in projects, first showed the blanket in 2013 at an exhibition named Another Terra. The designers plan to add more objects in the future. “Objects in our everyday lives may exist to perform a certain task, but they also communicate aspects of their history, their past, where or when they were made,” said Mischer, whose past projects with Traxler vary from a basket-building machine to bowls cast from vegetables. Both items double as tool kits with illustrated instruction manuals.