Dimitri Bähler calls himself an old young talent from Switzerland.
He jokes to explain that he arrived at the age of just 18 at the Ecal in Lausanne and that he therefore started working very early.
At the age of 34 he actually has many projects to his credit, both industrial and research. So maybe he's right: Dimitri is a mature designer.
He can be seen in the formal balance that he achieves between lines and volumes. And this can be seen in the complexity of the research which, in summary, can be traced in an arc that goes from a technological product such as theFactor Linear lamp for Hay to a brutal and sculptural one like the Ast stool for the Finnish Vaarnii.
In between there is a lot of experimenting and a lot of patience.
“It has often happened to me to work on projects for a long time, to see them mature in the dialogue with the producers and to find them completely changed once they get to the finalisation”, explains Dimitri.
He explains it candidly, thinking very far from the idea of design as a profession of sudden genius.
“We worked for a long time to arrive at the current version of Factor: it is a lamp with a significant degree of lighting complexity and the initial project was really completely different,” he continues.
“LED has always fascinated me: it is intrinsically flexible, it adapted to a research on carbon tubes (those of camping tents) which led me to a decidedly less industrial, although focused on technological materials”.
The end result is instead extremely rational: a tubular lamp capable of rotating on its axis to change the type of lighting from direct to indirect as desired.
It is modular, so its length varies according to the space, and it is very easy to assemble.
"It is a product that places Hay in the technical lighting sector, with a vocation for contract. I am very satisfied with how it has been developed, because if there hadn't been the brand's will to arrive at a very simple and readable result, probably would have remained within the scope of collectible design”.
At the other extreme of Bähler's work is a great interest in manual dexterity as a tool for exploration and contemplation.
The Ast stool was born from one of the first sketches made for the Vaarnii brand, but the final product once again went through many design phases and, perhaps, many second thoughts.
“The company gave me a precise brief: the stool. A vernacular furniture, humble. At the beginning I had thought of important sculptural volumes, but in the end I refocused the work on something simpler.
It wasn't easy, because the sketches often represent a trap that prevents us from imagining the subsequent work on the volumes and thicknesses in the maquette phase".
We return to the theme of patience and modesty in the face of matter. An attitude that Bähler also exercises with ceramics.
“A great love,” he admits.
“Born years ago, with the work on VPTC, a research that I haven't finished yet. Also because the variables of volume, pattern, texture and color (hence the acronym) to explore with different materials and tools are infinite”.
The research on VPTC probably gave birth to the concept for DB20 by Puul, a ceramic tableware decorated with reliefs and shadows on the surface.
A conceptual project, not immediate, which is unlikely to reach the general public given that even its composition is bizarre (three bowls and three glasses of different sizes). A project for refined minds, in short.
Like its author.