D.he pandemic makes you humble, inevitable. “The two knives are the smallest objects we have ever designed,” says designer Jeannette Altherr. And they are a typical project of the Corona era – in which one has to focus more on the obvious and less able to look into the distance. That is why Tomer Botner, who runs the knife manufacturer Florentine Kitchen Knifes in Barcelona together with his wife Noam Blumenthal, wanted to get to know the creative scene in his immediate environment better and asked 28 designers in the Catalan capital for drafts, including the Altherr studio Désile Park. “Everyone got two blades,” says Altherr. “And we designers should design a handle for it.”
Jeannette Altherr, Delphine Désile and Dennis Park were inspired by their surroundings. “We chose boxwood, a typical material here in the Mediterranean, especially for spoons,” says Altherr, who has a passion for wooden spoons and also collects them. Boxwood is ideal for cooking utensils. “It’s extremely hard, it splinters and doesn’t dry out, also because it contains an aromatic oil that also has an aseptic effect.” None of the knives should go into production at the end of the day. “They were auctioned,” says Altherr. “Our two were gone immediately – to someone from Silicon Valley.”
The upheaval began five years ago
Hardly any other studio in Spain is as internationally renowned and well-known as Altherr Désile Park, even if this name is not yet as common even in the design scene.
For almost 30 years, the studio operated under the name Lievore Altherr Molina and consisted of the native Argentine Alberto Lievore, the German Jeannette Altherr and the Spaniard Manel Molina. A year ago, the office repositioned itself, two long-time employees became partners for Lievore and Molina: the French Delphine Désile and Dennis Park, an American with Korean roots. Jeannette Altherr is now the oldest of the three and comes first by name. “But my name also starts with A,” she says and laughs. The 47-year-old Delphine Désile has been working in the studio for 17 years, almost twice as long as Dennis Park, who left the United States out of love for a Spaniard and started at Lievore Altherr Molina eight years ago.
The upheaval began five years ago when co-founder Manel Molina (born 1963) set up his own office in Barcelona. Alberto Lievore, on the other hand, was born in Buenos Aires in 1948 and wanted to slow down because of his age. “He has been saying for a long time that he wants to work less, travel less and have fewer customers,” says Jeannette Altherr. “I was happy that two employees, with whom I enjoy working with, expressed their interest in becoming partners, with all the consequences. Not everyone wants the responsibility and is also capable of it. ”It is a slow transition. “Alberto is still working, but we approach the projects differently: some we do together, some on our own. But that was actually always the case, even if the three of us were named together as authors in the end. “
From Landau to Barcelona
Altherr, who was born in Heidelberg in 1965 and grew up in Landau in the Palatinate, studied industrial design in Darmstadt up to her intermediate diploma. But she didn’t really feel at home there, and so she went abroad. “I wanted to go to Italy or Spain.” Ultimately, she opted for Barcelona, the city was on everyone’s lips at the time because of the 1992 Olympic Games. “Every budding designer wanted to go to Italy. But I thought that in Spain I would rather get one foot on the ground, I can achieve something there sooner than in a country where everything is already so well established. ”What she likes about Spain is the relaxed way of dealing with the past, looking ahead. “There’s a lot more improvisation here. The structures are not as firmly established as in Italy or Germany. ”In Italy, the weight of history has a paralyzing effect on everything creative. And in Germany? “I’ll give you just one example: The Spanish bank, la caixa ‘has a blue star as its logo, as if inspired by Miró. That would be unthinkable at Deutsche Bank. “