Milan Design Week 2009: ECAL


The University of Art and Design Lausanne, or ECAL, has been consistently turning out some intriguing talent under the directorship of Martin Schgaguler. While the curriculum teaches students to each hone their own identity, there remains a distinct style that sets the school's program apart from that of, say Design Academy Eindhoven or the RCA in London.

An attention to detail and a poetic simplicity that is in keeping with the Swiss craft tradition, largely characterized the works on view in Milan this week. In particular, I was taken with Charlotte Talbot's collection, "Le cours des choses," (right) an elegant distillation of the age-old form vs. function dialogue.

In addition to projects from the Industrial Design Department, ECAL showed two fascinating works by students in the Media & Interaction Design Unit featured in the Rough Cut video below. Camille Scherrer and Vincent Jacquier's "Cashback" is a cheeky project that translates various denominations of the Euro into a motion video striptease. The larger the denomination, the more tantalizing the content. Florian Pittet's "Light my fire" transforms the ignition of a match into a wild fireworks display projection. These two concepts might be harbingers of things to come in future design fairs, as interactive media challenges established notions of product design.