From the Library: Carl Auböck — The Workshop

A comprehensive photographic record of a prolific metal workshop and design house.


Bookends No. 5673, 1970

When we’re in need of inspiration, our library is the first place we turn to; it exists in the physical and symbolic center of our office. In an effort to immortalize the countless resources on its shelves, we feature a pertinent title from our library in each issue of the Post.

There are several giants we’d call desert island designers. Their work reliably appears on our pin boards and their philosophies in our psyches. Of course there are the expected California icons (think Neutra and the Eameses), those from farther afield such as Prouve or Perriand, but one group has particular weight in our studio. They are Viennese: Loos, Wagner, and Carl Aubock. The latter of these is featured in an exhaustive book, “Carl Aubock: The Workshop”, which meticulously chronicles the work of four generations of innovative Austrian design.

The Aubock workshop has existed as an authority on bronze particularly since its founding in 1906 by the then goldsmith, Carl Auböck I. In the years since, the workshop has gone on to be headed by each subsequent Carl Auböck, focusing itself on modernism as it became heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement occurring in neighboring Germany. In an effort to maximize production capabilities in wartime Austria (1930s and 40s), Carl Aubock II made simple adaptations to a core set of designs by his father that still exist today. This not only helped to minimize the need for new molds and techniques, but worked beautifully to gradually perfect the more than 500 designs produced.

The images here are a comprehensive account of the workshop’s output. The photographs offer an insight into what amounts to an intricate thesis on the boundlessness of metal work. We admire Aubock pieces for the balance they strike between methodical pragmatism and playfulness.

Magnifiers, 1958-1959
Bookmark, 1928
Magnifier No. 4998, 1959
Cigarette Box No. 3656, 1949
Cigarette Box No. 4852, 1958
Magnifier No. 4796, 1954
Magnifier No. 5223, 1959
Ashtray No. 3192, 1937
Magazine Rack No. 4019, 1951
Magainze Rack No. 4333, 1952
Table Lamp No. 4210, 1951
Table Lamp No. 4210, 1951
Table Lamp No. 3875, 1948
Tobacco Tin No. A388, 1958
Tobacco Tin No. 3863, 1950
Corkscrew No. 4707, 1955
Corkscrew No. 3459, 1935
Corkscrew No. 3417, 1930
Tray for Glasses No. 3384, 1938
Bottle Holder No. 3601, 1946
Martini Pitcher No. 3749, 1950
Egg Holders No. 3693, 1947
Egg Holders No. 3694, 1931
Dessert Flatware No. 4244, 1953
Nutcracker No. 4186, 1955
Fruit Bowl, 1934
Nut Bowl No. 4521, 1950
Salt & Pepper No. 4290, 1950
Dry Flowers Holder, 1949
Vase No. 3793, 1950
Umbrella Stand No. 4029, 1950
Bookends No. 5673, 1970
Bookends No. 4773, 1958
Wind Lantern No. 3886, 1941
Table Bell No. 3460, 1938
Ashtray No. 5012, 1950
Floor Ashtray No. 3866:II, 1948
Time Glass No. 4253, 1951
Shopper No. 4985, 1951
Carl Auböck II Sketching in the Book He Designed For This Very Purpose
1950s Workshop with Carl Auböck II Hard At Work
Auböck Sketchbook Pages
Design Drawings of Magazine Holders