Nicole Lehner, who is the brain behind the brand, Golden Biscotti, based in Switzerland, believes in eco-conscious product design aided by a keen sense of minimalist and contemporary style.
The firm makes high quality every day products based on sustainable design principles. Nicole’s designs are clean, practical, uncomplicated, interesting, compelling and for her the design process itself is not simply a means to an end but something that she particularly relishes.
Identifying materials for their sustainability and longevity, working out how best to minimise material wastage, and collaborating closely with local creatives who then translate her vision into reality using traditional production techniques is what she occupies herself with fully.
This organic and honest approach to design is captured in the Golden Biscotti range. Nicole Lehner is not one to follow trends. Looking through her range, it is in fact refreshing to see uncomplicated and pared down design. Her literal interpretations on some of her designs are both, amusing and inspiring – drinking straws made from … well, straw of course.
But delve a little deeper and it is not as simple as first thought. Straw is harvested by hand with a sickle just before it ripens, then dried and packaged. It offers food for thought too when you think of the ecological strain plastic straws create on our environment.
Nicole is not one to seek world domination through design. All her products are made in small production runs to meet customer demand, minimise unnecessary resource use and to maintain quality in each piece produced. She shares, “If the products are seen as something special and are used for as long as possible, then the goal of Golden Biscotti has been achieved.”
When asked as to what influenced her to pursue design as a career, she responds, “I studied product design more by chance. It could have also been photography, interior design or even graphics. I was very interested in shapes and materials so I guess it was a good choice. During my study I developed a strong interest in traditional manufacturing techniques.”
For Nicole conscious design and the use of natural, biodegradable materials is paramount. She therefore spends a lot of time thinking about consumer behaviour and how it affects the environment.
“Everything I create considers sustainability. I try to choose materials that are durable, which can be recycled at the end of their use, and preferably be produced in Switzerland, where I am based. When designing products I choose simple forms which are timeless and hopefully can be used for a long period of time,” she says.
Of the challenges she encounters in her business, Nicole has always had a tough time controlling costs. “Salaries are high in Switzerland but at the same time we also have a very high demand for quality. This is very good for my products. It is important for me and my business to find the right consumer who appreciates well made products and is ready to pay well for them,” she shares.
Nicole always opts for working with local artisans. The enormous storehouse of knowledge of materials and workmanship possessed by local artisans helps her to identify the best possible end shape. “I aim to design products in such a way that maximises the use of materials, minimises waste and maintains good quality. Following the design process from the initial concept to the completion and directly communicating with local creators is very important for me,” she says.
Nicole is particularly proud of her range of wooden boxes. She loves the pure and simple shape of the wooden box which shows the beauty of the timber and the expertise of the wood turner. It consists only of wood and only thanks to the precise craftsmanship of the wood turner it can be opened and closed easily.
There’s something quite delectable about this Swiss based product design business called Golden Biscotti and we only hope that many more people are inspired by their products which are more an outcome of a sheer respect towards the environment than anything else.
Text Compiled By Mala Bajaj