Design by FRANZ

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Grown up in Zurich, Franz von Matt by original profession was a self-employed Dipl. Architect (HTL). Therefore exact and precise working were trusted well to him. Apart from that, he trained, first as a hobby, his manual capabilities repairing and reconstructing historic metal and wooden wheels clocks. The passionate pipe smoker made another of his hobbies to his main occupation in 1998. In the romantic village Teufenthal (Argovia), beneath the medieval Trostburg castle, he opened in an old house in the Schlossgasse 22 a pipe workshop he named Pipe-Factory 22. The long-time and close friend, pipe artisan Bertram Safferling of Bad Cannstatt, certainly played an important role in this decision. At that time there were just four pipemakers in Switzerland - von Matt the sole full-time employed.

Made him famous in 1998: The Timeless

Right at the beginning, the lateral entrant caused proper furor introducing the design pipe "Timeless". The Timeless with its spherical bowl stained in many unusual colors was an impudent conversion of the historic Swiss Appenzeller type. It made him famous over night, but unfortunately the newcomer later on was often reduced on this product by many critics, for design(er) pipes absolutely were not everyone’s favorite. To be sure, under his label design by FRANZ not only funky design pipes were created, he also developed classic forms discreetly further.

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Otherwise, one could indeed name von Matt a "pipe architect", for he loved the exciting interaction between the constructive development of an innovative pipe design on the drawing board and it’s physical conversion at the lathe.

Coq du Bruyere

In 2000 he introduced the edition "Coq de Bruyère". This elegant bent was a homage to the mountain cock, lat. Tetrao urogallus, a species of birds threatened with extinction. The head symbolized the body, the mouthpiece the tails feathers. Together with Bertram Safferling von Matt presented his pipes on the German Intertabak 2000 doing a great gig there. Also with the next design "Bluebird" he stuck to the subject of birds, the Bluebird participating successfully in a competition in Leipzig in later autumn of 2000.

Awarded in 2001: Schräge Vögel / Odd Birds

The design "Schräge Vögel / Odd Birds" became a further milestone and made him prize winner of the Form Forum Switzerland 2001, a highly regarded honoring. "Who knows the maker is aware that there is something provocative behind the ambiguous name", said von Matt about the pipes.

"Franz von Matt, formerly architect, today full-time pipemaker, searched for the novel and experimented with new surface technologies. He found the "Odd Birds". The pipe form is short, the smoke is nevertheless cool. The sculptural form is intended. The layman rejoices in the unaccustomed forms and colors of the Odd Birds." commented the jury and jury president Georg tailor set thereto: "At first sight the passionate pipe smoker first will look at them with some scepticism. This is unfounded: The Odd Birds perform at best what is expected of a tobacco pipe!"

To be contuined!