They call themselves a 'troika', a Russian word that means a team of three. Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond have been working together for nearly 30 years. The founders’ deep involvement with architecture, design and scenography, as well as their encounters with charismatic personalities including Alberto Sartoris and Ettore Sottsass, have shaped the company’s philosophy, which is to strive to go beyond the confines of a single discipline. The trio designs for many world-famous international brands such as Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Nespresso. Last year the Museum of Design in Zurich honoured them with the monographic exhibition Oïphorie, retracing atelier oï’s work from 1991 to 2018.What does craftsmanship signify for you?
Craftspeople develop their own expertise, which often corresponds to the environment they were born in or have chosen. They learn to transform the raw materials that occur naturally in their surroundings into beautiful, precious, poetic objects.How does it feature in your work and life?
Craftsmanship is ingrained in our way of working, through observations of nature and contact with the material. Before we even start thinking about a project we look at how we can "tame" the material. We're fascinated by the craftsman's knowledge and we need those skills in our work. The project is shaped by the material.Do you have any stories about the artisans you have selected to feature on the guide?
From Linck to Lorenz Boegli, all these artisans have their workshops in remote locations. They have developed their particular skills within a very small radius, yet the quality of their production has earned them international renown. A craftswoman working out of a tiny studio in Val-de-Travers is famous as far away as Hong Kong.How would you define excellence?
The more modest an artisan is, the more they excel in their craft. The finest master craftspeople admit they never stop learning. Excellence is to never content yourself with what you already know, but to always strive for perfection. Excellence can never be achieved. It is a never-ending journey.