ECAL and zai at blickfang Zurich, 23–25.11.2012, Blickfang, Zurich

ECAL and zai at blickfang Zurich
Blickfang, Zurich

On the occasion of blickfang Zurich (23-25 November 2012), the students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Luxury Industry and Design at the ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne present objects realized in collaboration with zai, a Swiss manufacturer of skis based in Disentis (GR). These projects have been developed through a workshop with the British designer Alexander Taylor.

The four projects, presented as prototypes, have been developed from a series of tough specifications set by the Swiss company. The challenge was to create highly functional objects such as snow shoes or tools while using, if possible, leftovers from the zai ski production.The results embody the no-compromise approach of the company and some are bound to become products in the near future.

Essenz snowshoes
Romain Deleury & Emelie Lundquist
Made from punched and folded aluminum sheets, the Essenz snowshoes are extremely light. In-depth research was performed, many mock-ups were built, and during the process “test and trial” proved crucial. We studied different methods to treat the metal to make it as light and resistant as possible.

The choice of material for the Essenz snowshoes was aluminium, a material that was often associated with Swiss expertise, to the point that it was nicknamed “Swiss gold” in the 50’s. The body consists of sheets that have been folded, pierced and punched to give lightness in addition to enhanced rigidity. The two side parts are made of steel to hold the binding and are riveted together with the front part of the shoe. The aluminium surfaces are anodised black, hardening the aluminium and protecting against corrosion.

Core axe
Kacper Hamilton
The Core axe consists of a helve and two interchangeable heads. The straight shaft helve re- sembles a tomahawk, made from a sandwich of zaiìra® and ash wood. The layering construction is inspired by zai’s process and philosophy of making skis using raw and contrasting materials. The helve has been refined to be slim and lightweight; thereby generating greater striking momentum and more efficiency when cutting or splitting wood.

The heads are made from forged high carbon steel. They can be changed using the integrated quick release system; this allows for secure head attachment, easier sharpening and safer transportation. Each head has a different function, one is for felling trees and the other for splitting logs of wood.

Higo knife & tool
Kacper Hamilton
The Higo collection is influenced by the traditional Japanese ‘Higonokami’ knife. The Higo tool contains two essential screwdriver heads for adjusting ski bindings, whilst the Higo knife contains a short robust blade. The slim profile of these accessories gives extra safety when carried close to the body whilst skiing.

The Higo collection are one handed operational devices. They can be easily opened, locked and closed; providing utmost efficiency in mountain conditions. Both have an automatic locking mechanism, ensuring that they are always safely stored and handled. The unibody of each object is machined out of a single piece of aluminium, therefore making it strong and durable.

Rope tool
Léo Rodriguez
During the visit of the zai factory we disco­vered their universe which I really liked. The rough aspect of their skis and search for extreme efficiency inspired me for my project. One thing that caught my attention is the fact that they were always car­rying the screwdriver in their ski shoes to avoid injuries while skiing.

I then decided to make a set of retractable tools using the same components as you can find in their skis. Based on archaic tools, they are composed of three pieces; the handle, the tool and the rope to join them.

blickfang Zurich
23 I 24 I 25 November 2012
Enge, Zurich
Friday and Saturday 11am to à 10pm
Sunday 11am to 7pm

Dates and schedules


Blickfang, Zurich
zai blickfang, Blickfang, Zurich, Exposition, MAS-Luxury
"Core Axe", ECAL/Kacper Hamilton. Collaboration with zai. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta
zai blickfang, Blickfang, Zurich, Exposition, MAS-Luxury
"Essenz-Snowshoes", ECAL/Emelie Lundquist & Romain Deleury. Collaboration with zai. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta
zai blickfang, Blickfang, Zurich, Exposition, MAS-Luxury
"Rope Tool", ECAL/Léo Rodiguez. Collaboration with zai. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta
zai blickfang, Blickfang, Zurich, Exposition, MAS-Luxury
Higo Tool", ECAL/Kacper Hamilton. Collaboration with zai. Photo ECAL/Nicolas Genta