Only a week ago I spend a couple of days on a beautiful Spanish island called MALLORCA, something I already shared with you in this Insta-preview.
Curious what I was invited for in the first place…?
I was invited by Spanish brand CAMPER to discover their annual workshop for elite design students from all over Europe, this year themed; ‘THE SMELL OF DESIGN’
I love to broaden my horizons and I’m always curious how brands build out their empire and how a brand philosophy is build, so now I had the chance to discover everything there is to find out about CAMPER.
It was the 5th time CAMPER organized this workshop but the very first time CAMPER decided to communicate about it, let along invite bloggers to have them share this CAMPER experience with their readers.
Every year, Camper selects design students from different schools in Europe, specialized in footwear and product design. After this selection is made final, CAMPER then invites the graduates to a 10 day workshop at SON FORTESA, a farm house and private family estate from the CAMPER family located in the heart of Mallorca.
The CAMPER folks were so nice to give us a tour around the amazing property.
I took so many pictures worth showing, that I’ve decided to put them in a proper slide show instead of trying to break to world record of longest blog post éver. :)
This is…SON FORTESA.
In the midst of this paradise, CAMPER gives the designers the opportunity to work in a natural environment, barefooted if they want to and soak them into a 10 day lasting CAMPER experience where they are introduced to the brands design philosphy and are creatively stimulated on the daily to design their own pair of shoes.
To ensure the quality of their creativity, CAMPER provides the designers with everything they might possibly need to finish their task successfully. Professional teachers who guide them, (Adriana Rodriguez, Nunu Solsona from Deux Souliers & Basia Szkutnicka) sun, nature and yes, even a chef who serves them delicious food.
After a tour around the property, CAMPER briefly introduced us to the 9 designers and gave us a peek into the CAMPER workspace.
The workspace looked exactly how you might imagine a space with 9 young creatives in it to be.
A beautiful creative mess:
So what is this CAMPER ‘SMELL OF DESIGN’ workshop all about?
In a nutshell?
Camper challenged the designers to think about the concept of SMELL. After a speed course where the designers learned everything about smell and the associations that comes with it (memories, moods & cultural values) CAMPER then challenged them to make a shoe that is accompanied by it’s own individual smell. Both the shoe and the scent will be showcased at the end of the workshop in a (for this occasion) specially handmade glass bowl or dome.
When you take away the corque and sniff into the dome, you should have…THE SMELL OF DESIGN.
CAMPER also invited some students from ECAL, school for Art & Design in Lausanne, Switzerland, to document, illustrate, film and showcase the workshop and the shoes in a legit exposition. (Daniele Bortotto (Italy), Helge Hjorth (Norway), David Luraschi (France/ U.S.) and January Czarlewski (France/ Poland)
But for now, the workspace smelled like the stress of sweaty students trying to finish of their project before the deadline, so needless to say, we couldn’t really hang around for too long.
So, on to the next one and for us this meant, a visit to the CAMPER headquarters!
At the CAMPER headquarters we were introduced to CAMPER LAND from A to Z.
Meaning, the design department, the CAMPER factory, a visit to the infamous CAMPER shoe library (where hundreds of shoes are stocked row after row) the prototype atelier where designs come to life by the hands of a traditional shoemaker, the CAMPER last stock, where all the different type of shoe lasts (in wood or plastic) are created and tested, and yes even a visit to the CAMPER canteen where we were offered a healthy lunch.
We weren’t allowed to take much pictures at the CAMPER HQ, but I hope the slide-show gives you an idea from what we saw.
While talking to a few people who work for CAMPER it was very obvious that CAMPER works really hard to inject their ‘LIFELOVERS’ tag line into the veins of all the people who work for them, and that they do their utmost best to implicate that philosophy into their company management. CAMPER is obviously a big company, and from what I have witnessed, people really, genuinely LOVE to work there.
The next day it was finally time to see what the 9 designers have been working on for the past 10 days at the ‘SMELL OF DESIGN’ official showcase.
This year’s participating designers were: Luc Aarts (Holland) Moe Okoshi (Japan) Sophia Guggenberger (Austria) Steven Tai (Canada) Anna Kobierowska (Poland), Tijn Van Orsou (Holland) Eugenia Morporgu & Michel Giesbrecht (Switzerland) & Eliška Kuchtová (Czech Republic)
My favorite? Hmm though question…
I liked Steven Tai’s ‘His & Hers’ concept, I loved the woven estetics & sand colours from skater boy Luc Aarts, I was stunned by the creativity and skill from Moe Okoshi and I admired the almost perfect execution from the shoe of Michel Giesbrecht, an industrial designer who never made a shoe in his entire life!
So. What did Ì learn from this trip? :)
I learned that CAMPER stands for simplicity, sustainability and comfort, with a passion for design and a quirky wink towards fashion. (for example with their CAMPER TOGETHER capsule collection collaborating with designers like VERONIQUE BRANQUINO & BERNHARD WILLHELM)
I learned that CAMPER is a brand for and by LIFELOVERS, a brand that carries a philosophy that is about loving life and appreciating the simple things like good food, nature and a healthy way of living.
Last but not least, I learned that although you might think CAMPER is not for you or your personal style, I’m pretty sure that CAMPER has at least one pair of shoes that will make you change your opinion.
So next time you walk by a CAMPER store, hop in with this story in the back of your mind, and have a look around.
Meanwhile, I’m dreaming about these CHANTAL heels. (inspired by one of my favorite icons VANESSA -CHANTAL- PARADIS btw)
Thank you CAMPER, I met a dozen interesting and inspiring people in only 2 days and I’m very, very grateful for this experience.
PS: I already told you in my Insta-Preview that CAMPER made us stay in this amazing hotel called SA CABANA. I took some pictures while I was there, so if these pictures are not convincing enough for you to book a little vacation over there, then I can only say: That shit cray!! ;)