The ALPA Log

ALPA Design Awards


Each February 28/29, ALPA celebrates the anniversary of the company's (new) foundation in 1996. The SWA and FPS have won design awards on this journey.

February 27, 2019
ALPA Design Awards

Each February 28/29, ALPA celebrates the anniversary of the company's (new) foundation in 1996.It was on the way back from Photokina 1996 from Cologne to Zurich and after the presentation of the first medium-format ALPA. The owners of ALPA of Switzerland, Ursula Capaul and Thomas Weber, discussed the lessons of the last few days and realized that a radically more modular concept of a camera platform is needed for the future of photography.The idea for the ALPA 12 WA (Wide Angle) and SWA (Shift/Wide Angle) and a completely modular and ergonomic, hand-held medium format camera for reportage, landscape and architecture photography was born on the trip from Cologne: a system with individually replaceable backs and optics and the highest possible degree of individualization for the individual user.In the course of 1997 a completely new system had to be developed. This included two camera bodies with and without shift, a universal wide-angle viewfinder, adaptations for own roll film backs, a complete integration of large-format optics from Schneider Kreuznach and Rodenstock. But that's not all, Capaul and Weber have also recognized - deep in the analogue age - that future digital backs are a great opportunity and have therefore projected the first digital back adapter for backs with for the Hasselblad V interface. Security of investment has become the hallmark of ALPA and still today the very first ALPA 12 WA/SWA can be used with the most modern digital backs - 20 years after its introduction.

Schematic Drawing ALPA 12 WA/SWA from 1997, completed 1998By autumn 1997, the most important elements had been completed through several development iterations. The list included a Polaroidback and ground glass as well as high-quality leather goods, straps and hand loops. In order to offer the user more choice, adapters for standard film backs with universal connection (e. g. Mamiya RB67) have also been designed and optimized. The first pre-production series of the ALPA 12 WA was completed in October 1997 and work on the ALPA 12 SWA was started soon afterwards.

ALPA 12 SWA prototype 1997 with study for alternative shift lock in the hand gripUntil Photokina 1998 everything was ready and Capaul and Weber presented the camera platform ALPA 12 in Cologne. They were already able to achieve their first success in advance when the renowned French Magnum photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon bought one of the ALPA 12 WA from the pilot series off the exhibition stand in spring and thus realized a project in Mauritania.

ALPA 12 SWA prototype 1997 with study with early hand grip sketchesIn 2000, ALPA 12 WA/SWA won the "Red Dot" design award in the highest category with the remark: “Highest Design Quality for: Degree of innovation, Functionality, Formal Quality, Ergonomics, Durability, Symbolic and emotional content, Product peripherals, Self-explanatoriy quality.”

Red Dot Award 2000 for ALPA 12 WA/SWA - Shown with an early Phase One digital backInternational Design Magazine's Design Review - I.D.® MagazineIn 2000 ALPA has also received the award Design Distinction in Consumer Products in the International Design Magazine's Design Review (I.D.® Magazine, 116 East 27th Street, Floor 6, New York, NY 10016, USA)."... Projects like yours keep I.D.'s Review at the forefront...""... the camera is at the pinnacle of product design..."

I.D. July/August 2000

ALPA 12 SWA, actual modelDesign Prize SwitzerlandALPA was awarded with the RADO product design award at Design Prize Switzerland Edition 2013/2014 for its ALPA 12 FPS photographic tool.The prize is awarded for industrial products that are distinguished by an innovative approach to the materials or combination of materials, functionality or manufacturing technique. It is aimed at industry and the talented younger generation of industrial designers.ALPA wants to thank the jury as well as RADO Switzerland and congratulates all nominees and co-prize winners of the Design Prize Switzerland , Edition 2013/2014 on their awards!Website [|Design Prize Switzerland]Website [|RADO Switzerland]Product Page [/en/article/alpa-12-fps|ALPA 12 FPS]JURYLiesbeth in't HoutCo-Director Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam/NetherlandsAscan MergenthalerSenior Partner, Herzog & de Meuron, Basle/SwitzerlandJasper MorrisonJasper Morrison Ltd., Paris/F and London/UKLars MüllerLars Müller Publishers, Baden/SwitzerlandRobb YoungContributing Writer, International Herald Tribune, London/UKCOMMENTS BY THE JURYThe ALPA 12 FPS provides strong confirmation of the excellent reputation that this legendary Swiss brand enjoys, both among professionals and with a selected group of connoisseurs and amateurs. The product combines functional innovation with proven technological flair, together with top-quality manufacture and a clearly delineated design which makes the equipment easy to handle. In short, this is in every way a triumph and lives up the best standards of Swiss industrial design.COMMENTS OF THE NOMINATORSThis is a consistent system-design approach to a product which generally comes in the form of a closed combination. Aimed at appealing to individual preferences and with built-in future compatibility, the ALPA is a modular model in the best and most literal sense - a trailblazing innovation in the design of consumer goods.


PRODUCT PAGES[/en/article/alpa-12-swa|Product Page ALPA 12 SWA][/en/article/alpa-12-fps|Product Page ALPA 12 FPS]