The Werkstätte (Workshop) Carl Auböck was founded in the 19th century—one of many workshops in Vienna specializing in bronze-casting. However, Carl Auböck (1900–1957) was one of the very few Viennese students who attended the Bauhaus in post World War I Weimar, and when he returned to the Workshop he brought inspiration from this new design movement. Expert craftsmanship and superior quality materials such as hand-sewn leather, polished bronze, and various woods became the signature of the Bauhaus inspired Auböck Workshop and many of their whimsical modernist designs stand out as prescient objets d’art: a sleek, bronze safety razor blade; a streamlined, piscine, leather and bronze bottle opener; a crown-shaped ashtray, which foreshadowed the famous 1957 Edgerton milk drop photograph; and an oversized metallic paperclip and life-size bronze egg paperweights.
Carrying on generations of the Workshop tradition, son Carl Auböck (II, 1924–1993) and grandson Carl Auböck (III, born 1954) were instrumental in forging ahead with new ideas and designs while preserving the quality craftsmanship and integrity of the Workshop which today remains among the last of its kind. Despite designing over 6,000 original objects and pieces of furniture in the early to mid-20th century, Auböck somehow has eluded the spotlight and the Workshop’s products remain cult objects of desire, cherished quietly by design greats and savvy collectors. More incredibly, only one quarter of the Workshop’s designs have been documented, leaving an astounding 4,000 objects yet to be “discovered.”
In Carl Auböck: The Workshop, 1930-1970 artists and design enthusiasts Clemens Kois and Patrick Parrisch document hundreds of signature Workshop objects culled from exclusive private collections (including their own), and bring us into into the Workshop itself with contemporary photographs, interviews with Carl Auböck III, and historical documents and photographs depicting the legacy of the Workshop itself.
“...The strange and luminous world of the Viennese designer Carl Auböck (1900–57). A master of elemental materials like brass, leather, wood and horn, Auböck had a flair for exquisitely turned curios—paperweights, corkscrews, pipe holders—that still exert a magnetic pull... His larger works—Nakashima-like free-edge wooden tables with spindly brass legs, leather-sling magazine racks, gooseneck lamps that evoke alien plant life from 1950s sci-fi flicks—have their fans. But...the smaller household and office objects from the 1940s and ’50s have made Auböck a full-blown cult hero. Beloved by contemporaries like Charles and Ray Eames and Walter Gropius, these pieces are now hunted down by collectors the likes of Michael Maharam and Diane von Furstenberg.” — The New York Times, T Magazine, “Brass in Pocket, Carl Auböck’s Exquisite Curios,” May 20, 2010