StilRad°°: Design for the Urbane Bicyclist
Treasure Hunt: Oct. 2012
Nestled behind Judenplatz where Jordangasse and Schultergasse cross, the new StilRad°°/Eva Blut boutique feels like an insider’s secret. Run in partnership by Paul Rasper and Eva Buchleitner, the shop’s witty, minimalist promos personify the bicycles hanging in the windows alongside Eva Blut’s bags and accessories: These are “bicycles who know where to find the best mélange in town,” or “bicycles who’d rather chat about gin and tonic than chain-oil.”
The union of fashionable bags and equally fashionable bicycles comes to life in the shop’s bright and open doorway – an Eva Blut bag specially constructed to attach and hang from the bicycle top tube of a beautiful StilRad°° show piece. To the right are the bikes, and to the left the full range of bags and accessories. It’s an apt touch, which holds the entire store together.
“That bag is actually how I met Paul at last year’s Vienna Design Week,” recalls Buchleitner. “You don’t have to take off the bag when cycling, and can attach your mobile with your earphones. There’s also a belt so you can wear it on the back,” she enthuses. The point is, “it must function well with your outfit; you don’t necessarily need to declare yourself as a cyclist. If you’re going to the office, then maybe you don’t want to look so sporty.” Featuring the softest Austrian leathers, these Eva Blut creations all have the feeling of one-of-a-kind originals, and the overall collection makes a distinct and cohesive design statement. It’s incredible how light and sturdy they feel.
Making my way into the store’s bicycle zone, Rasper demonstrates the surprising compactness of StilRad°°’s STRIDA folding model. “I’m actually not really a bike freak,” he says. “I’m an architect and I worked and lived for a year in Copenhagen, where I was just captured by how they live with the bicycle in the city. When I returned to Vienna, I simply cycled everywhere.”
Alongside StilRad°°’s eye-catching constructions, the shop also offers carefully selected items from other noted brands such as Schindelhauer, Vanmoof, and Brooks saddles.
“As of our first step we test the bicycles for how useable they are in the city, and then we also look at how people want to differentiate from each other and their bicycles,” Rasper continues. Customisation is key – the final look of each bicycle is up to the purchaser, and coupled with an Eva Blut bag, one is certain to find an individual look sure to make its way onto www.viennacyclechic.at, a web blog of stealthily photographed city bikers.
Proudly, Rasper moves towards an angled umbrella, attached to a bicycle at the handlebar, from the company Senz, and his first addition to the company’s products. “This holder is a very small thing, but it’s very handy and quite solid and tested up to 60km an hour.” With rain in the day’s forecast, you’d expect most other cyclists to plan a day inside, but not Rasper. It’s his first chance to test the new gadget and he’s raring to go.
Glancing out the window, I notice the way the light fills the cross-street just-so. “I really love this area,” Buchleitner comments. “It’s so relaxed. People simply slow down when they come down this street.”