A WAY OF LIFE: NOTES ON BALLENBERG
A multiauthored portrait of the Swiss open-air museum documenting centuries of historic homes and the enchanting details of vernacular architecture
Founded in 1978, Ballenberg is a legendary Swiss open-air architectural museum that gathers more than 100 residential and agricultural buildings from the 14th to the 19th centuries, from almost all of the cantons of Switzerland, which have been transported to the museum from their original sites. Together these buildings show how architecture, furnishings and tools expressed the needs of everyday life in their design and execution. Traditional handicrafts such as basket-weaving, forging, braiding, spinning, weaving and carving are also kept alive in Ballenberg's on-site workshops.
Edited by Rolf Fehlbaum, entrepreneur and long-time driving force behind Vitra, this beautiful publication is an invitation to discover and explore the world of things with fresh eyes. A Way of Life compiles photographs, observations and discoveries made at Ballenberg by the acclaimed designers Jasper Morrison and David Saik and the architect Tsuyoshi Tane, who all share a fascination with the simple, the practical and the functionally beautiful. In concise, elegant writing, Morrison, Saik and Tane comment on the design ingenuities in various features of the buildings. The book’s superb photography celebrates the traces of wear and tear on door handles, benches, columns, brick tile floors and other architectural details that testify to a bygone ethos of enduring utility and economic common sense. A Way of Life serves as an encouragement to designers and consumers alike to resist trends and fads, and to critically evaluate the objects of everyday use in terms of utility and aesthetics.