Carlo Clopath, industrial designer, Grisons, Switzerland.

Hello Carlo Clopath, how are you?

Hello Tiffany, Hello Dennis, thank you, I am fine.

Can you introduce yourself?

I am an industrial designer working in eastern Switzerland (Grisons). I grew up here in the Alps. I studied industrial and product design in Lausanne and afterwards I spent a year in Copenhagen working at Cecilie Manz’ office and developing my personal work during a residence at the Statens Værksteder for Kunst. A year ago I installed my office in a former workshop belonging to the electricity station in Trin. Here, I am mainly developing domestic objects for national and international companies as well as private costumers. Additionally, I am collaborating with Julie Richoz and Christophe Guberan, developing a new vision of a domestic landscape.

Where does your interest in industrial design come from?

At first it was an interest in architecture, both traditional and contemporary: I am attracted to the idea of evolving products based on traditional examples – learning from and building on objects that have a proven value seems logic. Historical architectural typologies – such as an Engadinerhaus or a Strickbau (log house) – have constantly evolved and been adapted to current needs and technologies, from Rudolf to Valerio Olgiati, Gion A. Caminada or Peter Zumthor. On the contrary, the items used within these homes have not changed. Perhaps my interest in industrial design derives from both the absence of local contemporary typologies and the rich regional history of arts and crafts.

You have been awarded the Swiss Federal Design Award in June 2014 with Palutta, can you tell us more about this project, and what does this award mean to you?

Palutta is a series of cutlery and kitchen utensils, based on local typologies, manufacturing processes and culinary customs, combined with technologies from foreign cultures. Items used to eat are lacquered with Urushi (Wajima-nuri), a durable natural lacquer, which protects the wood from acids, bases, alcohol, solvents and humidity. The divers utensils are made from maple wood, stainless steel, porcelain or linen and are produced industrially. The form, material and manufacturing process are based on archaic prototypes, which are combined with contemporary lines and technologies. The drawings subtlety, realized thanks to new manufacturing processes, modifies the characteristics of the archetype, resulting in a light and fine product.

The Swiss Federal Design Award is an important recognition for my work and a confirmation for the path I have chosen.

Do you follow any kind of manifesto?

I do not follow any manifesto. However an inherent logic based on spontaneity, curiosity and naivety are important for my work. My memories and stories from my childhood in the Alps, and more recent experiences from Lausanne and Copenhagen are also influencing and defining my work; life choices and experiences are important and are continuously forming my vision.

Which book is on your bedside table?

Jasper Morrison’s «The Good Life, Perceptions Of The Ordinary».

What is next for you?

Currently the whole series of kitchen utensils is produced by Okro and will be on sale in September: this is extremely exciting! Otherwise, I am working on several projects for Dadadum, Andreas Caminada and developing personal projects both alone and together with Julie and Christophe.

The last word…




Interview : Tiffany Baehler & Dennis Moya – 09.14

Projects ©Carlo Clopath.

This interview is part of a series in collaboration with the Design Days 2014. Carlo Clopath is selected to be part of the “Espaces du Design” exhibition during the event.