From “TATTLE” in INTERIORS :
IN THE WHITEWASHED mountains of Switzerland, late in the 18th century, a winter of assiduous watchmaker’s hands shaped the elegant, nuanced ancestor to the mp3 player. A music box shares none of the digital slick proffered by a slim, luxuriously customized play list, which is why the soulful, exacting creations of Reuge have such resonance. Versions of the music box existed before Antoine Favre’s improved gadget in 1796, yet his streamlined rendition introduced a metal comb with pre-tuned metallic notes, revolutionizing the depth and control of sound. Various incarnations followed, and so was the advent of an astoundingly complex craft. To open a Reuge music box and observe its mechanics is a like a visual distillation of every crowded venue, every grand orchestra hall and pulsating stage, as it brings one closer to the seductive physicality of music. Reuge is the only company still producing music boxes and singing birds, a legacy that has been a patient witness to nearly every other recorded format for listening. The beauty in each piece may be its awareness that music is nostalgia, arousing intimate memories and emotions, and the insistence that at this level, such personal compositions cannot be treated as background noise. CEO Kurt Kupper describes it simple: “Listen to a music box, close your eyes…you will understand.”
For the 40 artisans working in the Reuge studio, knowledge of the craft is generational, where the handmade element is preserved and not rushed. The Imperia, a large standing music box, takes six months to create. “While the design might sometimes use computer technology,” Kupper relays, “the creative part is done by imagination, taste and emotion. The melody is still created as it was in 1865-by listening and re-arranging, by the hand and mind of a skilled musician.” Classical works are expected- Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Puccini- and the 1865 collection complements the Reuge heritage (Baroque, Classicisme, Renaissance) with traditional shapes of dark, rich wood inlay and time-honered details. The Studio and Lounge series are sassier, contemporary accompaniments, their designs in high-concept free-fall with works in glass, metal, enamel, leather and steel. The Winch model, for example, is a handsome contoured boat, featuring a carbon sail. Undeniably bespoke, Reuge has fashioned custom pieces playing The Clash and Pink Floyd, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and ABBA, recreating national anthems and rap songs- though slightly more challenging technically- for clients seeking their own handcrafted music libraries. Limitless and inventive, the company has also engaged in elaborate collaborations with notable names, and often visits the glamorous provinces of luxury brands like Boucheron, Mercedes, Harry Winston, Ferrari, as well as special commissions for boutique hotels.
Awe must be reserved for Reuge’s singing bird creations. A resplendent little creature dressed in a rainbow of feathers that are individually placed by the hand of one specialist, the bird is profoundly impressive. Synchronized, beak open while singing, a harmony of nature and precision for private enjoyment- the singing bird is a captivating reminder of artistry in a glaze of technology. “With a music box you create a heritage, an heirloom, but not one which we feel an obligation to have,” says Kupper, “but one that keeps a positive memory.”
-Arianne Nardo Reuge SA, Rue des Rasses 26, Sainte-Croix, Switzerland +41 24 455 22 22 reuge.com, to view, OC Concept Store, occonceptstore.com
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It is one of my all time favorites in print and in fact much like my design bible. The magazine covers the best of everything This is an article on music boxes that I have never heard of. So I thought I would give you all a treat, as it is written beautifully and the photos are stunning! this is what Ari wrote!
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