Design & Decoration S03 ep13 : Fidel Peugeot & Karl Emilio Pircher, Walking Chair, [Vienna]
Interview with Fidel Peugeot & Karl Emilio Pircher
Fidel Peugeot, born Sebastian Rudolf Baumgartner in Basel, Switzerland began studying communications-design with Prof Armin Hofmann, Wolfgang Weingart & Rene Pulver at the University for Design in Basel. During his studies he has already been working as a graphic designer at the renowned agencies GGK, WeberHodelSchmid and Stalder&Suter and toured in a couple of bands as a musician. Next to the written word he also cultivated the spoken: together with Karl Rottweiler he founded the Swiss label&station Radio Glaibasel (RGB107,6) in the 80ties. After stopovers in New York and Paris he finally came to Vienna in 1991. Here he developed the first digitized handwritings, moreover a whole dynasty of pixelfonts for online purposes, the Lomofonts, the “Spruce” and the “Line” for Tyler Brulée and the Wallpaper Group amongst others. Since 2002 Fidel Peugeot has been Linotype font-designer. Additionally Peugeot works in all fields of graphic design, e.g. as illustrator, or as logo designer, like for the Albertina, Vienna. 1999 Fidel Peugeot met the Italian product-designer Karl Emilio Pircher. An immediate mutual understanding led to the establishment of the Walking-Chair Design Studio GmbH in the heart of Vienna.
Walking Chair design studio, it’s founded by Karl Emilio P… and M…
Walking Chair is a chair that can walk, the idea is furniture is not only furniture, maybe furniture
can be also something different.
I was an engineer and I was a dancer and I was a … did a lot of different things
Then in my engineer world was perfect no, and then I was a teacher I teach in a school all the
technical stuff to the young people but I feel it, I have to study again.
You are say engineer then you can making oh but I don’t feel sure about the aesthetics.
More than 15 years ago I came to Vienna for study and one of the main or the more important
professor was …
I from Switzerland Basel in my Degree as a graphic designer I liked very much the drawing, I like
paints and some paper, I was addicted by the material painters use, I went when I was a very young
child to the magazines looking up for new pencils, new papers and I knew more about this than
In 2000 I make my diploma and then I met Fidel by my first job at the Lomographic Society. The
Lomographic Society ask me to designing the new cameras in the 2000.
Basel is a traditional city, they have a big culture of, in art, today also there is this big fair the art
fair Art Basel and I grew up in this society with a lot of people around, my parents, friends have
galleries and the people were always interesting in art, I was into the same but only the material,
not knowing that I going to be into arts today and I just decided to study graphic design because I
loved so much paper and pen.
I came to Vienna by coincidence. I was totally shocked by this city. I came ’92, I saw only a grey
city. On the way back to the station I met a friend, a Swiss friend, he had worked with an architect,
today a famous architect and he said hey what are you doing here in Vienna, and I say I’m going
back to Switzerland, I can’t bear this city. He said no, come on, stay one night, this city is really
terrible, but maybe we can go out for a beer. And we went out for a beer and this second night I
met another guy he offered me a flat for a couple of months, a flat that has 140 square metres, I
met a wonderful wife, so I started very early in this city as a font designer. ’93, ’94, ’95 though
time Karl Emilio was studying it was Ron Arat, we didn’t met yet.
We were asked to create the new mobile phone for the future. This was 2000 in Vienna and we had
the vision to make a mobile phone with camera and with instant messaging. Karl was meant to be
the shaper of the house, I was asked for a typography in this digital thing, we met through this
We met one day and the second day we know each other we started to work and since then we
work every day together.
Fidel is coming in my kitchen, I make two latte macciato you know then we started to talk and I
have to talk him a lot and they have been talking a lot and we … yes … we started some exchange
of ideas was so nice and thought hey and then I feel it, ho there is here is something going on.
I don’t need my friends I can do the same, that’s not interesting, I don’t like talking about what we
are doing, I like talking about what we are dreaming and then fulfilling the dream, realising things,
and finding a solution for this so it was a perfect partner. We realised that the people found out that
the things we created were much more than what they were expecting.
We had the chance 2002 in September going to designer block to UK to London we made a show,
a small show with five, six ideas and we had a really good feedback. And this feedback was the
start of Walking Chair Design Studio the company today.
When you have the craft and you have the power, you go out and when you go out you break the
regulars from home automatically you are more open, this is the same thing when you go on the
holiday. Why when you go on holiday you do different things do you at home.
I’m often they ask in Asia which kind of magazines do you read, which kind of information do you
take for your work. We don’t take information for our work, we of course go into research and go
inside ourself inside our client’s head to dream or to find the point we have to do our work.
If you go, look back for like 30 years maybe 40 years and you talk about Scandinavian design,
what did they do, they made up a brand, it’s a support by the government, it’s a support by the
companies by the economy. The Russian people invited the world to present a new design. The
Italians said we take the whole place because we don’t want to have other countries involved. Now
in Russia the people say design is Italian, design work or architecture or has to be pushed to
become a brand.
We had a request for furniture for new one and we realised that there was a missing link in the
furniture industry and outdoor furniture where you could sit on the table on the same side stand
beside the table like on the barbies and have a communication with other people, or sit just with
the lap top outside working because more and more cities are offering wireless LAN more and
more people living in cities but they have not the situation the possibility to sit outside on a nice
bench to make a lap top work, make an email and that’s our future.
The think tank is doing not only design, we are much more inventor, we want to do to invent
something new. When some other designers or architects did something for us, it’s not any more
interesting and this can be in design, in art, in musician, in blah, blah, blah in every disciplines but
the invention, it’s when it’s something new.
This is now not a question if it’s art or design or whatever, today in the society, art is going to be
sold in galleries and in museums, it’s presentation that’s what we do partly but on the other side we
are doing for the clients interior design houses or we did an aqua park in Ban… I don’t want to talk
about art or not art, I want to talk about good idea or bad idea or if this idea fits the needs of the
Humour or self irony, or irony, it’s very important in life, this help then to open the head and the
heart, well this is important for the life so it’s the same in the art no, art it’s important exactly for
that for open the mind and open the ideas and open the feeling, open the view.
In the first moment to understand, how or can we work together because we have we need to
deeply trust in each other clients and our studio so we have to you know we have a kind of a same
sensuality for the things. If this is touching, then we can start to work, if this is not working we
don’t do the job.
We need the freedom and we need the spirit and the free mind that we can find new solutions.
Only then we can jump into this new direction.
Daniel Charney, a curator from London, he did a show with us said one plus one is new and he
meant it because together you can make more than only adding one plus one, we say three
dimension and two dimension make five dimension, that’s enough.
They come to us and they know what they can expect from us, then they want to know exactly
what they get and I tell you even the last exhibition we did was a client you could not imagine
what we were doing and the last moment the lights were put and everything was glowing the way
we expected it to look and she was absolutely surprised.
I play piano and the guitar but I’m more a composer I cannot sing, I’m more, you know I like to
shake my eggs, these are little eggs we can shake so (so do you dance) yeah, yeah (oh my God) so
this toys was something we want to do so I say hey, hey.
Music and I mean now the big music, I mean the big orchestra work I mean the big composing,
like M… like a very, very huge symphonies, is maybe that what I can compare with what I try to
In music is something that has to kind of indescribable moment, the same with the composing a
character set an alphabet, you make each A, B, C, D, you know you have 200 and more 500
characters in the end each character looks good but they have to look good together, if you write
with it, you know that’s the composition and this is the same with our work, I think we have to
always main view on the composition, not on the single design.
The composition you cannot describe that much, you can only say hmm I feel good or I feel not so
good or maybe we need something else and you get also feedback from outside you get feedback
from there and then you have this three dimensional five dimensional voluminous you are in with
the work and you choose it because you like for example to have legs on the table that can walk
you know, new position of walking, bringing a table into a movement, bringing chairs that have
maybe a new position where you sit on, maybe it’s not a flat, maybe it’s something or table that is
like the surface of the moon, things that are not necessarily demanded because what the people
think the table has to be flat, why.
The older I get the more I go for the big music, I say the symphony because it’s so not to
understand, I need something where you have the detail inside that are not explainable any more
and maybe this is also what happened with us, with the people, they cannot describe what we do.
One day in some opening blah, blah, blah, it’s coming so very important man to me and ah, you
are yes, I’m chairman from I don’t remember the company and I think yeah I’m chairman from
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Fidel Peugeot & Karl Emilio Pircher, Walking Chair, Vienna