Stories

Relaxed rooms

Franziska Möhrle

Franziska Möhrle grew up with the fragrance and materials of a ceramic workshop – her love of open shapes accompanies her as does the comfort of a big family. Now the budding architect is opening up spaces for limited periods of time to explore the effects of open and closed shapes with her visitors.

 

The student in the first year of her master’s degree at the University of Liechtenstein is currently spending a semester abroad at ‘The Royal Danish Academy Of Arts’ in Copenhagen. She is enjoying the city and finds it fascinating but it’s too big for her tastes – her new adopted home of Feldkirch in many respects offers a greater sense of home and warmth. The young woman from Upper Swabia found many doors opening for her when she started looking for an apartment in Feldkirch to use as a base for her studies – which is probably due to her endearing nature. “You often don’t realise where you feel at home until you’re far away. Feldkirch is ideal for me, there’s lots for young people to do and yet it’s small enough not to be overwhelming. You’re in a city that always creates urbanity but you can also quickly find yourself in the most beautiful of natural landscapes. I grew up near Ravensburg, where my whole family lives and I also feel very much at home there. And then I travel to the south of Sweden to work in a ceramics workshop every summer. All that’s home for me.”

 

How much material you actually need to create a room?

She spent time on a placement at the architectural offices of Martin Mackowitz after she had completed her bachelor’s degree and so became acquainted with the Wanderkiosk project at first hand. And, as a result of the latter also stopping off on its travels in Feldkirch, Franziska was commissioned by restaurateur Sebastian Geiger to design the festival café. She – along with her friend and comrade-in-arms Valerie Rainer – took up the challenge and established their ‘Auf strich’ office share and soon came up with an unusual recreation zone where food and drink could be served. And, immediately in the following year, they were asked by POTENTIALe Managing Director Ingo Türtscher to reinterpret another element:  He wanted the entrance area, the place where all festival visitors pass through the barrier and that is traditionally a ‘non-space’, to be transformed into something that was more than just a transit zone. The ‘Auf`strich’ office share also accepted this challenge and created a feel-good zone to welcome people on their arrival and invite them to spend some time there. “We asked ourselves at the beginning how much material you actually need to create a room,” says Franziska Möhrle. “An art container was hired as the hub around which we built a living room from scaffolding elements and fabric panels and that used living room furniture that we sourced from flea markets. We were always there and served simple drinks and people stayed, often for a very long time.” Like you’d expect when the living room is so comfortable.

It had become clear by the end of the design festival that this hub had more potential for other activities. So it remained at the Reichenfeld for another four weeks and served as a research laboratory for the two young architects. The research topic was: what exactly is public or private space?

Franziska Moehrle, Potentiale Feldkirch © Petra Rainer, Bodensee-Vorarlberg Tourismus
Franziska Moehrle, Potentiale Feldkirch © Petra Rainer, Bodensee-Vorarlberg Tourismus
Franziska Moehrle, Potentiale Feldkirch © Petra Rainer, Bodensee-Vorarlberg Tourismus

“The POTENTIALe represented the perfect framework for this vivid place, the city feels very urban whenever festivals take place. But we were interested in what happened afterwards – it was November, it was cold and uncomfortable, not even the pop-up rooms in the field were now being used. Sometimes it just takes more than a place that was built. An abandoned place loses much more than one that simply isn’t used yet. We think that public space needs architecture with content, space by itself is not enough,” she says and adds: “I don’t know if I can really be a good architect because I’m always interested in people.” In people and time and again in ceramics too because her eyes begin to shine when she talks about materials and shapes and the mini spaces in ceramic objects. But she still decided to study architecture while at the same time pursuing her passion for ceramics.

It’s lucky she chose to take that route because the world needs architecture that takes people as its focus as urgently as it needs a beautifully shaped cup of tea. And it’s best if everything comes from Franziska Möhrle.

 

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