Door 2: Carl Auböck

Photography Courtesy of Werkstätte Carl Auböck

      Design, especially midcentury, has been closely associated with the Scandinavian countries and one then tends to oversee the beauty in one's own homecountry, like the proverb "a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country". But Austria has a rich Design history, which does not need to hide at all. One of the more famous names related to this heritage is Carl Auböck, but it is not a single person that stands behind this name.

        Photography Courtesy of Piasa Paris

        The family was already working in the bronze and metal industry in 19th century, but the company Auböck Werkstätte was founded by Karl Heinrich Auböck in 1912 as a metal-workshop. It was mainly known for his Wiener Bronzen, small, bronze figurines, which were collectibles and highly popular in Austria in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century.

        Carl Auböck II, Umkehrlampe, 1950

          His son Carl Auböck II, born in 1900, studied painting first at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1917 to 1919 and later at Bauhaus in Weimar. There he was taught by Johannes Itten, a Swiss expressionist painter and designer. Carl's wife Mara Uckunova also studied there. These influences were visible especially after he took over his father's workshop after his death in 1925. His designs were more playful and figurative, but not lacking the craftsmanship of his ancestor.

            Carl Auböck, Amboss Besteck 2060, 1955

            Carl Auböck III studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His stint in the United States of America highly influenced his approach to design, as he wanted to bring some of its coolness to Europe. He worked with his father and together they won four gold medals at the Triennale in Milan. This led to an international interest and also the company produced for Hermés and Pierre Cardin. Carl Auböck III also designed for other companies like Amboss or Tyrolia.

              At the moment the workshop is led by the 4th generation, Carl Auböck IV and his sister Maria, who are both trained as architects. They were able to maintain the spirit and quality of their precursors. In total the Auböck Werkstätte as a whole made over 4,500 unique designs. The pieces often contain an element of humor and Old World craft, making everyday objects and also tasks into something special and fun.