La Loko started in September 2003. We work within the fields of architecture, art, broadcasting, dance, design, economics, gastronomy, fashion, film, hospitality, marketing, music, politics, writing, and more. All our activities use the international language Esperanto as medium, reference, methodological model, trigger and/or topic.

A hypothetical cosmos

A language is a tool used by people to communicate and to materialize thoughts. Along with any message we produce or receive, follows a whole set of cultural references due to the specificity of the language. When we speak or listen to a language, wherever we are, we find ourselves — unconsciously or not — among forms, images, sounds and smells belonging to a specific culture.

Esperanto, however, does not belong to any country or culture. It is a language without a visible world. This missing universe is precisely what we aim at inventing. How would an Esperanto table look like? And what would make a dish to Esperanto food? And what about Esperanto fashion, is that conceivable? The task is endless.

We do not expect to reach any truth by answering these questions. We use the idea of an Esperanto world to trigger the design of innovative objects, and at the same time decoding the grammar of existing things.

A pragmatic approach

La Loko takes its point of departure in the hypothesis of an Esperanto world; nonetheless it is in the negotiation with a real social, economical or political context, that we find the core of our work. In order to challenge our ideas as well as to widen up our field of action, La Loko diversifies its locations, its methods and its perspectives.

Among other things, La Loko is the name of our company. An Esperanto product is defined by its structural, aesthetical and spiritual analogy to Esperanto: like Esperanto, our products are simple, transparent, functional, flexible, beautiful, ethical, democratic, friendly and cosmopolitan. These values are fundamental to our design, and also great sales arguments. Quality associated with a strong branding will make La Loko a healthy business, and with that give us the possibility to finance the non-lucrative activities of La Loko.

In return we promote the language. Although the movement is greater than people usually think, it is true that Esperanto suffers from its unjustified image of a failed utopia. A contemporary branding strategy is necessary to give Esperanto the popularity it deserves.

Esperanto — the idea of a fully working international language that is easy to learn — came out of the idealistic mind of the Polish oculist Ludwik Zamenhof more than hundred years ago, and today La Loko utilizes the potentials of the market to spread it.

La Loko means 'the place' in Esperanto

Esperanto has already brought us many enriching experiences as well as many friends all over the world. Our conviction that Esperanto would make the world a better place is strong. Furthermore we now know that we can apply it concretely in our design work and we plan to market our inventions as Esperanto products.

But beyond all that, we are first and foremost motivated by a fundamental curiosity. What are the relations between objects, language and economy? And how do people interact with them? To answer these questions we choose to participate actively within and in between systems.

More philosophically, La Loko seen as a whole, is a reflection upon the concept of a site. La Loko is a space, which is neither defined geographically, nor bound to a specific discipline. It is elastic, polymorph and mobile; a mental space we build through our work in order to always have an external point view on that which one usually calls the real world.

Olof Olsson and Daniel Salomon