The interface between art and design is by no means a new subject for debate. In the context of 'Modern Art' of the late nineteenth century, it was present in the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, as well as in Art Nouveau, Jugendstil and the Werkbund, and was taken up again by the early avantgarde movements of the twentieth century. In their different manner, all these movements reacted to the technological and political implications of industrialization by fostering the relation between the autonomous sphere of art and the culture of industrial design characterised by mass production. The result was a new form of practice, wherein traditional boundaries of associated domains were renegotiated, challenging the distinction between "functional design" and "non-functional art."

This distinction, according to Richard Artschwager, is based on how we decide to perceive an object: "If you sit on it, it's a chair; if you walk around it and look at it, it's a sculpture." This interpretation implies an instruction to participate and indicates that the dialogue between art and the world of design - through the exchange of processes, experiments and production strategies - has taken another turn, in the course of which designers and artists suddenly find themselves in the public realm of social, political, ecological and economical issues. In view of this extended field of action, craftsmanship and the individual person take on a crucial role once more, that enables protagonists to detach themselves from expectations, disciplines and concepts.


„ak7 brings together the concepts and ideas of artists of international stature with the skills of local Tyrolean craftsmen to create a limited number of each design. In an age of mass production and mass consumption, with new objects being launched on the market at an ever-accelerating rate, and with so much manufacturing being outsourced to the Far East, the emphasis on locality and high quality production recalls the ambitions of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the end of the 19th Century. As then, artisans are given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to take pride and pleasure in their workmanship. ak7 epitomises the desire to slow down, to re-engage with the careful and considered making of an object that is intended to last a lifetime - and more. Its launch is to be celebrated.“