Left: Marine Sergent, Cuckoo Family; Right: Coucou-Nest by Nadège Dell’Omo-Seigne & Noëllie Salguero-Hernandez
Reinvent the Swiss cuckoo clock. This was the challenge given to students and guest designers by the Haute école d’art et de design (HEAD) in Geneva. You can see their varied and curious solutions in a new exhibition at the UQAM Centre de Design, 24 hours in the life of a Swiss cuckoo clock, produced by the HEAD, featuring two dozen adaptations of the folksy Swiss timepiece.
Designer Claudio Colucci conceived the project at the invitation of Jean-Pierre Greff, Director of HEAD – Geneva. The contributing young designers are students of the Masters in Design program at the HEAD, directed by Alexandra Midal, and the international guest designers include James Auger, Marco Borraccino, Nitzan Cohen, Camille Scherrer and matali crasset.
The students' 21st century designs have left behind the idealised world of rural life in the Alpine setting. Instead, they articulate current concerns while retaining the playful and mischievous note characteristic of this custodian of time.
Swiss Paradise by Marie Ivol opens to reveal the Switzerland of banking secrecy and the world of surveillance cameras
Left: Bird Cage Clock by Dorothée Loustalot; Right: Céline Mosset inserted a camera lens into her design, Watch the Birdie
Design historian and curator Alexandra Midal and designer Camille Scherrer will each give a lecture on Thursday, February 19, at 6 p.m. at the Centre de Design. Alexandra Midal's talk is entitled De la main de l’ouvrière au pied de la danseuse : le perfide designer (from the worker's hand to the dancer's foot: the devious designer); Camille Scherrer's Blurring Boundaries will be a discussion of his own work, which straddles technology and craft.
For more information visit www.centrededesign.uqam.ca
Coucou bijou, by Mathilde Petit & Roland Kawczynski, plays with miniaturisation in this pair of dainty, wearable cuckoo clocks with gold filigree details.
This version of the cuckoo clock, titled Sémaphore, by Wendy Gaze, records the minutes like items on a checkout till tape. A printed image of a cuckoo announces the passing of each half hour.
'Back to the Trees'. This 'nest' by Clémentine Despocq projects the time onto the wall. In the daytime it appears as a faded pink, and at night it reads boldly in red.
And here's a short history of the Cuckoo Clock, from HEAD:
A cuckoo clock, known as a coucou in French, strikes the hours with a sound resembling a cuckoo’s call. Contrary to popular belief, cuckoo clocks are not a Swiss invention. They were first made in 1738 in the Black Forest, in southern Germany and the largest production centre is still to be found there today in Schönwald. The cuckoo’s call was chosen as it could easily be imitated by simple mechanical means. The call is often accompanied by a chime. Exactly on the hour or half-hour, the doors open and a mechanical bird emerges from its nest and sings. The traditional model, established around 1850, is a wall clock with visible pendulum, driven by two weights in the shape of pine cones, and with a wooden case in the form of a chalet. This is typically decorated with pastoral scenes set in an enchanting landscape. These idealised images developed at a time when European countries were all going through the transition from agrarian living to industrial societies. They reflect nostalgia for a bucolic way of life, shielded from progress and from the vagaries of the industrial and economic revolution. Life in the Swiss Alps long represented for tourists a model of this peaceful rural existence, ruled by immutable laws and indifferent to the major changes sweeping through the modern world. This is how the cuckoo clock, the icon of this idealised vision, which marks a never-changing time, became an emblem of Switzerland.
Design Images ©HEAD - Sandra Pointet