“Our shop should offer something to the villagers”

A new store has recently opened in the former “Wullelädeli” on Thunstrasse 1 in Oberdiessbach: Eva (57) and Daniel (59) Wenger from Wichtrach sell their own bookbinding products here under the name Atelier 1818, but it should also be a meeting place. For them, the store is not only a new professional start, but also a return to old passions.

When you walk into a new store in the center of the village, two things catch your attention: colorful patterns of books, notebooks, folders and cards that can be bought here, among others, and old mechanical machines whose function is not immediately apparent. And then tables and chairs by the window on the other side of the room that invite you to sit. The tranquil atmosphere contrasts with the hustle and bustle of the main street outside. Daniel and Eva Wenger, who opened the store in early May, also radiate peace.

“We came up with the idea for the shop a year ago at the Lausanne Art Museum,” says Daniel Wenger. “There were beautiful books in the museum shop that reminded me that I originally learned how to bind books.” After years of selling machines for the graphics industry and many travels, it’s time for something new. “It’s important to do something you really enjoy doing,” she says.

Work for the less privileged

Throughout his career, Daniel Wenger has experienced a massive cut in employment in the graphics industry. “Lots of people had to be fired. Some have become social incidents. ” Thanks to the Wengers studio, they want to help, among others, such people. “We want to hire disadvantaged people here,” says Daniel Wenger. They should work in the cafe and in the maintenance of the store, as well as in the bookbinding workshop.

Eva Wenger can now realize her creative inclinations even more in the new store. She works – next to the store – again as a kindergarten teacher. In parallel with her job, she trained to become a design trainer and now incorporates color and form into her teaching and business.

Machines from Oberdiessbach

The studio is the heart of the store. “We do everything here by hand on machines that are in some cases over 100 years old,” says Wenger. Some of them come from the Gerber printing house in Oberdiessbach. All bookbinding products are our own products. But not everything is made in Oberdiessbach. “We also work with social institutions that carry out specific orders for us.” The Wengers sell goods not only in the store in Oberdiessbach, but also in their own online store and through retailers.

Social and environmental considerations and regionality also play a role in the rest of the range. Wengers also sells environmentally friendly and ethically sourced paints. There is a place to sell local handicrafts in the shop window. In the café, too, they rely on sustainable tea, coffee and cold drinks.

A cafe as a meeting place

The fact that there is a cafe at Atelier 1818 has a specific purpose: since beautiful books and maps are not part of the daily needs, the cafe should be a meeting place. “It is important to us that our company offers something to the villagers,” say the Wengers. Therefore, she is pleased that there is also a demand in the village for the courses the Wengerians offer on various topics.

The course will also be devoted to the preparation of filtered coffee. You can also enjoy it in the cafe. “After meeting the former Swiss master of the art of filter coffee, we trained in the art of filter coffee,” says Daniel Wenger. This is half the science, everything has to be fine: the amount of ground beans and water, the water temperature, the speed at which the water flows through the filter in circular motions, and so on. As with wine, you can now try different tastes. “It’s something between normal coffee and black tea,” says Daniel Wenger. From Wenger’s experience, such filtered coffee sometimes manages to convince people who otherwise would not want to do without milk and sugar – contrary to the expectations of many. “It’s not bitter as you know it from your grandma, and it’s more bearable.”

A bit of grandma’s panache

But there is a grandmother’s note in Atelier 1818. It is named after the vintage house that recently housed the well-known and popular “Wullelädeli”. Apart from the old machines mentioned, some of the furniture in the cafe is also antique. And the Wengerians appreciate the proximity to Buumehus, whose former village shop is now a museum. “Several visitors found the studio to be cozier and historic,” says Eva Wenger. A place to feel suits both of them. It also goes well with their bookbinding products which use textured materials. The Wengers want to arouse emotions. “We’ve achieved that goal,” they both said.

[i] Hours of operation: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 08:00 – 11:45 and 13:30 – 17:00, Saturday 08:00 – 11:45, Thursdays closed. The store is exceptionally closed from 21:00 to 24:00. June is closed.

A small selection of products and drinks can be found outside of opening hours from the self-service windows at the entrance.

[i] Visit the Atelier 1818 website and Instagram profile

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