Pursuit of balance

Choreography for the LANGE 1

Asymmetry is fascinating. Artists, architects and designers have been addressing this subject throughout history. For fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, there is nothing more beautiful than asymmetry, while the typographer Jan Tschichold, an advocate of the Bauhaus movement, defined it as the rhythmic expression of functional design. The examination of asymmetry and symmetry has brought together the media artist and choreographer Christian “Mio” Loclair and A. Lange & Söhne. Together with his studio, Waltz Binaire, he realised a project at the Finca Bell-Lloc in Girona, Spain, that analysed the interaction between design, mathematics and nature through words and movement.

The resulting video is an aesthetic journey that traces the rhythm of asymmetry across the interface between human movement and mathematical perfection. For Loclair, good design begins with a decision based on the law of proximity, which originates from Gestalt psychology: “If we add a new element to an existing group of elements, we have to take the altered balance in the space into consideration. We are always creating new connections and find our way towards simplicity through this complex mathematical process.”

The choreography

Two different physical bodies move within an empty room. A mechanical male body forms the opposition to an organic female body. At first, they are separate from one another and we notice the beauty of both types of movement. We experience how the two units encroach on each other and overlap. The interaction on the interface between mathematics and nature epitomises physical nature and the rhythm of asymmetry.

The design philosophy behind the LANGE 1

The balancing of asymmetric proportions also forms the core of the LANGE 1 design philosophy. The complexity within, which gives rise to a new kind of harmony resulting from the off-centre display designed in accordance with the golden ratio, is timeless and ground-breaking, even after a quarter of a century. A new, organic sense of order resulted from the perceived imbalance, corresponding to human experience and giving the watch its iconic character.

When relaunching A. Lange & Söhne, the founders Walter Lange and Günter Blümlein were in the same situation as a writer facing a blank page. Given the enormous range of possibilities and the strong competition they faced, it was worth developing an independent identity. Günter Blümlein summarised the strategic approach in a sentence: “In order to be different, you need to try new approaches.”

This idea of novelty and uniqueness should not just be embodied in a technical concept, but also in the design. That’s why calibre engineers and product designers worked hand in hand from the start to ensure that the interior and exterior were in harmony. This holistic approach has been an integral aspect of all product developments since 1990 and is especially evident in the LANGE 1.

The off-centre dial

The priority was to give the watch with the representative name of LANGE 1 an inimitable appearance. Asymmetry is the leitmotif of the LANGE 1 design. The off-centre displays without any overlaps create a captivating sense of tension. Nevertheless, the dial looks ordered and harmonised. This is due to the fact that the displays are in a delicately balanced relationship with one another. It conforms to classic design rules such as axial arrangement and the golden ratio.

The significance of the golden ratio

In geometry, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the two quantities is the same as the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller quantity. Expressed as a number, this is a ratio of one to 1.618. This magic number has inspired thinkers since antiquity and appears in the works of renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Le Corbusier. On the LANGE 1, the proportion of the diameters of the dial and the hour and minute circles is in the golden ratio, just like the proportions of the outsize date display.


About Christian “Mio” Loclair
Christian “Mio” Loclair, media artist, choreographer and creative director of the Waltz Binaire design studio, investigates the tension between sensual experiences and digital aesthetics in his works. His interdisciplinary pieces create gradients between new media, art and technology and use technology as a microscope for human needs. Loclair studied human-machine interactions at HPI (PinchWatch, Paper HCI Lisbon), was named one of the best 16 solo dancers in the world in 2007 and 2010 (Sony Championships) and was granted an Honorary Mention at the Prix Ars Electronica (Pathfinder). Waltz Binaire designed and developed interdisciplinary cutting-edge projects in collaboration with advertising agencies and cultural institutes.

About the LANGE 1
The LANGE 1 has embodied the identity of A. Lange & Söhne for 25 years. With its unique combination of classic style elements and technical innovations, it stands for the aspiration of the Saxon manufactory to craft the world’s finest watches. When it was first introduced, the off-centre dial, 72-hour power reserve and the first outsize date in a regularly produced wristwatch were enthusiastically received. The highly recognisable watch is without doubt one of the great classic watches of the 20th century.

About A. Lange & Söhne
Dresden watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange laid the cornerstone of Saxony’s precision watchmaking industry when he established his manufactory in 1845. His precious pocket watches remain highly coveted among collectors all over the world. The company was expropriated after World War II, and the name A. Lange & Söhne nearly vanished. But in 1990, Walter Lange, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s great-grandson, ventured to start over again. Today, Lange crafts only a few thousand wristwatches, mainly in gold or platinum, per year. They are endowed exclusively with proprietary movements that are lavishly decorated and twice assembled by hand. With 65 manufacture calibres developed since 1994, A. Lange & Söhne has secured a top-tier position among the world’s finest watch brands. Its greatest successes include brand icons such as the LANGE 1, the first regularly produced wristwatch with an outsize date, and the ZEITWERK, with its precisely jumping numerals. Extraordinary complications such as the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER, the TRIPLE SPLIT and the so far most complicated model, the GRAND COMPLICATION, introduced in 2013 in a limited edition of six, represent what the manufactory always strives for: to drive the traditional art of watchmaking to ever-new heights. The sporty yet elegant ODYSSEUS, introduced in 2019, marked the start of a new chapter for A. Lange & Söhne.

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