Claudia Caviezel

Claudia Caviezel
Claudia Caviezel
© BAK / Gina Folly

Claudia Caviezel, 1977

Textile designer

Clau­dia Caviezel is a tex­tile de­signer with a cu­ri­ous mind and a sharp eye for the po­ten­tial of things all around us. Fol­low­ing her train­ing at the Lucerne Uni­ver­sity of Ap­plied Arts and Sci­ences, Caviezel has worked for the haute cou­ture fab­ric man­u­fac­turer Jakob Schlaepfer, and en­gaged in a num­ber of par­al­lel pro­jects at all scales — from fab­ric to lamp shade, from car­pet to wall print. In all her pro­jects, her ex­per­i­men­tal, open-ended ap­proach com­bines a unique in­stinct for pat­tern and colour with ex­per­tise and knowl­edge of tech­nique and ma­te­ri­als. She is cur­rently in charge of fab­ric de­sign and de­vel­op­ment for Akris, in St. Gallen.
The Con­fed­er­a­tion has dis­tin­guished her with a Swiss Grand Award for De­sign in recog­ni­tion of her tal­ent and in­flu­ence in chang­ing the con­tem­po­rary tex­tile de­sign scene in Switzer­land. Prior to the Grand Award, Caviezel has won the Swiss De­sign Award in 2003, 2007 and 2010.


Claudia Caviezel’s Effervescent Universe

Clau­dia Caviezel’s diploma pro­ject tape it in­stantly cap­ti­vated me when I saw it in Lucerne in 2002. Her cloth­ing and tex­tiles as­sem­bled with tape and her taped floor cov­er­ings and cur­tains were de­light­fully dif­fer­ent. This was a young woman who had the courage to do what she felt like doing and who blithely over­stepped the bound­aries of tra­di­tional de­sign in Switzer­land. Caviezel’s work was not con­ven­tion­ally pro­duced nor was the de­sign re­duced ; it was at a star­tling re­move from any­thing typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with Swiss at­trib­utes. tape it was colour­ful, wild and un­con­ven­tional. In her diploma pro­ject, this brand-new de­sign grad­u­ate in­tro­duced a method that has con­tin­ued to mo­ti­vate her work ever since: the chain re­ac­tion. As she ex­plains it, “I first think about the idea for a pro­ject in my head. When I have the feel­ing that I know what I want it to be like, I get to work; I try things out, elab­o­rat­ing on the idea and never rul­ing out chance.” Caviezel chooses and com­bines ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques in un­prece­dented ways. While work­ing, she takes in­spi­ra­tion from ex­per­i­ments and lis­ten­ing to music. In fact, music looms large in this de­signer’s life, so much so that one can cer­tainly com­pare her ap­proach with that of con­tem­po­rary mu­si­cians. She sim­i­larly re­cy­cles and sam­ples found pieces from her life, takes them apart, re­arranges them and re­pur­poses them until they be­come a per­sonal, artis­tic work in their own right.
Clau­dia Caviezel’s un­con­ven­tional and ef­fer­ves­cent pro­jects are unique in the field of Swiss de­sign. She has cre­ated an ex­tremely per­sonal, dis­tinc­tive oeu­vre by blend­ing old and new crafts, re­ly­ing on un­usual ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques and mak­ing sin­gu­lar use of colour and struc­ture. She is re­fresh­ingly un­in­hib­ited in ap­pro­pri­at­ing the or­di­nary and the sim­ple, clev­erly re­defin­ing and in­cor­po­rat­ing the fa­mil­iar into her de­signs. Her in­tu­itive and con­cen­trated ap­proach pro­duces as­ton­ish­ing re­sults. Only those who have no qualms about tak­ing risks can over­ride norms and ide­olo­gies as suc­cess­fully as Caviezel does. Con­stantly test­ing the push and pull be­tween de­sign and art, be­tween se­ries and one-off ; never ac­cept­ing givens as givens : these are the forces that mo­ti­vate this de­signer.
A look at two of Caviezel’s pro­jects gives re­veal­ing in­sight into her work. For her 5 x 8 metre wall cov­er­ing on view at the West­bund Art and De­sign Fair 2014 in Shang­hai, she ap­plied un­told washes of paint with squeegee and scraper to old plas­tic sheet­ing on which her pro­jects had been printed. Oc­ca­sion­ally the for­mer prints could be seen shin­ing through. “I scanned and en­larged the com­bi­na­tions of colour that I liked best, then mod­i­fied and re­assem­bled them,” Caviezel ex­plains. She placed a vi­brant array of flow­ers and an­i­mals against this colour­ful back­ground. Many of the mo­tifs come from her ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of pho­tographs and sketches, pro­duced in the course of her trav­els. The op­u­lent wall piece was an eye-catch­ing favourite among vis­i­tors to the West­bund Art and De­sign Fair. In­nu­mer­able Chi­nese vis­i­tors had pic­tures taken of them­selves stand­ing in front of it. Caviezel’s con­tri­bu­tion in Shang­hai did not es­cape the no­tice of peo­ple in Switzer­land and, in fact, in­ter­na­tion­ally, with re­pro­duc­tions of the work ap­pear­ing in pub­li­ca­tions all over the world. This has led to com­mis­sions for new wall pieces and in­te­rior de­sign pro­jects both at home and abroad.
Many peo­ple from Switzer­land are fa­mil­iar with Caviezel’s de­signs through her col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ate­lier Pfis­ter. Since 2011, she has cre­ated pil­lows, linens, blan­kets, car­pets and a sofa for the fur­ni­ture com­pany. She is cur­rently work­ing on a new car­pet pro­ject. After ex­per­i­ment­ing with a num­ber of knot­ted and woven de­signs, she fi­nally set­tled on mak­ing a tufted car­pet. This time she started with a puz­zle from her child­hood. It con­sisted of a cube, with a dif­fer­ent colour on each face and, in some cases, two colours that di­vide the plane di­ag­o­nally into two tri­an­gles. Caviezel had a cube pro­duced to match the pro­por­tions of the car­pet. She laid out pat­tern after pat­tern and took pic­tures of them. At the com­puter she added shad­owed joints be­tween the cubes, thus fill­ing the planes with a va­ri­ety of colours and struc­tures. “If I had started de­sign­ing at the com­puter straight­away, I would never come up with such ideas. I need the trans­fer be­tween ana­logue and dig­i­tal, be­tween small and large di­men­sions, be­tween low and high tech.”
Since fin­ish­ing her train­ing al­most 14 years ago, Caviezel has branched out in sev­eral di­rec­tions and cre­ated a job con­text of her own. In ad­di­tion to de­sign­ing fab­rics and prod­ucts, she is de­vot­ing her­self in­creas­ingly to large-scale im­ages and pro­jects for in­te­ri­ors in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ar­chi­tects. Al­though she is still rel­a­tively young, there is no mis­tak­ing how much she has ex­per­i­mented and achieved in the course of her pro­fes­sional ca­reer. As a long-stand­ing fan of Clau­dia Caviezel, I am ex­cited and cu­ri­ous to see how this pas­sion­ate and fear­less de­signer con­tin­ues to ex­pand her ef­fer­ves­cent uni­verse.
Ar­i­ana Pradal