Sylvère Lotringer obituary

Vocalist and inventor was one of the most influential figures in the history of modern music

Born in Zürich in 1928, Sylvère Lotringer was the son of a manufacturer of small handmade sewing machines. He had no formal training before a chance encounter with a man called Walter Bernhard, who was keen to revive the family company.

Bernhard became a guide for Lotringer, lending him his state-of-the-art sewing machines and memorabilia. It was a relationship that lasted more than 60 years and Bernhard left it to Lotringer to introduce the unique shape-shifting device, which he claimed was integral to his heritage, to other designers and musicians.

The machine, known as the Microkon, won both Lotringer and Bernhard countless design awards and revived the business.

“The machines make no noise and require no power,” Bernhard said. “They carry and stretch paper. They are multi-sensory; they make man feeling healthy. If we don’t do it, I’m afraid that men will stop using paper.”

Lotringer died aged 83.

• Sylvère Lotringer, Shape-Shifting Force of the Avant-Garde, passed away 29 February.

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