at Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich
It’s hard to be an old institution and reinvent yourself enough to still keep your cool; just look at David Bowie. Bowie’s pulled this off with the utmost grace over the last 4 decades, but the legendary Cabaret Voltaire isn’t doing too poorly itself, and compared to their 10 decades, Bowie’s still a spring chicken.
Keeping that in mind, some people don’t see a challenge as a challenge unless it’s a REALLY BIG challenge, and to be clear, here keeping a 100-year-old avant-garde arts venue at the forefront might comparatively be called moderate on the challenging scale. What would tip it into the REALLY BIG range would be to use that venue to present contemporary interpretations of a concept that itself is another old institution, namely Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, which might be most simply described as the artist’s radical extension of his artistic vision on the interior structure of his family’s Hannover house in the 20s and 30s. Here’s where it gets really interesting, however, and also where we can be glad that time doesn’t just heal wounds, but also smoothes over differences. Where Schwitters’ application to join Dada was once rejected on the basis that he was too preoccupied with aesthetics, nearly 100 years later we can see that he really was working in the same direction as his officially Dada contemporaries.
In the first half of Merz World, or until June 19th, you will encounter Yona Friedman’s Ville Spatiale, and new interpretation of the “Merz Principle”, according to which a seemingly random agglomeration of things comes to form a whole, as a means of exploring the idea that the challenge of producing architecture in urban spaces lies in basing it on the behaviour of its users. Starting June 19th, Tomas Saraceno will intervene and alter Friedman’s structure into his own under the name Cloud Cities, in which the behaviour of clouds is taken as a model for the behaviour of houses. Can houses really change their shape and position like clouds do? Stop by Cabaret Voltaire to find out how!
The exhibition runs until August 21st and you can find Cabaret Voltaire at Spiegelgasse 1 in Zürich. Whether you make it to Zurich in time for this show or not, Cabaret Voltaire’s duDA-Bar is open every day (expect Mondays) to welcome you for a drink. Before you get totally duDA-ed, head over to White Line Hotels edit Hotel Greulich for their fantastic restaurant. They have beds too, if you need one.
Image courtesy www.merzbau.ch
Contributing writer: Melissa Frost
If you’ve ever opened a book on the history of modern art, you’ve seen the pictures: naked women covered in paint pressing their bodies against paper. The artist behind this was Yves Klein and he called this type of work Anthropometry, turning people into living brushes to apply his patented paint International Klein Blue, or IKB.
Now that you’re refamiliarized with Klein’s work, let’s start by saying that this is not what Jannis Kounellis has done in his new exhibition at Kewenig Galerie in Cologne, but that emphatic not could hardly be understood without remembering how fine the line is between it and saying, instead, this is exactly what Jannis Kounellis has done in his new exhibition at Kewenig Galerie in Cologne. Rather than bodies, Kounellis has used items of clothing covered in black paint and then pressed them against human-sized metal sheets covered in canvas. It would seem that the human-sizing is the only evidence of a human presence in the room at all.
This is where the line between the not and the exactly gets even finer. Klein’s Anthropometry works were about the living experience of the paint being applied to the surface and the very evidently human traces that they left; the shapes of breasts, stomachs, and legs are unmistakable. Everything in Klein’s works is about that human presence. Despite first appearances, so is Kounellis’. Kounellis proves presence, however, though absence by using the clothes we use to cover our skin rather than the skin itself. When a shape becomes recognizable, like a jeans pocket, it no longer speaks for itself as a piece of clothing, but for the body we feel should be underneath of it. Exactly like the distance between skin and clothing, Kounllis makes us dig a little deeper to get at the flesh of his new works, but taking the time to unveil the presence behind them won’t disappoint.
Are you tired of hotels that seem devoid of life? At White Line Hotels edit The New Yorker Hotel human traces are more than evident.
Images: Kewenig Galerie at www.artnet.de
Contributing writer: Melissa Frost
If you’re itching to get out of town but are pressed for time, head to Salzburg to take advantage of White Line Hotels edit the Blaue Gans Arthotel’s Giacometti package. Included in the package is one of the hotel’s 3.0 rooms (a luxurious 30 square meters) as well as full breakfast buffet to get you on your way towards exploring the city. You can spend the day exploring the Giacometti exhibition “The Origin of Space” at the Museum of Modern Art (tickets are included in the package). Rounding off the perfect one-night get away is dinner in the Gewölbe Restaurant, we’d recommend the schnitzel, it’s both a tradition and mighty tasty.
Book your Giacometti package here.
You know you’ve teamed up with the right people when they make a “Best in the World” list. That’s why we’d like to join White Line Hotels edit Hotel Omm in congratulating their consulting chefs: Joan, Josep, and Jordi Roca on their recent honour of the Celler de Can Roca being named 2nd Best Restaurant in the World!
The three brothers are the consulting chefs for Hotel Omm’s acclaimed Moo Restaurant. Their own space, El Celler de Can Rosa, serves up ‘emotional cuisine’ in dishes that evoke childhood memories or transport the diner to a time and place. The focus on the palate’s association with memories and a disregard for traditional culinary techniques has propelled the modest and honest cuisine of the restaurant into the spotlight.
The relationship between Omm and the brothers has been beneficial all around. It’s also fostered a woring relationship between Sandra Taruella, interior designer of the Omm and the Grupo Tragaluz. Taruella was asked to design El Celler when it was still in development phase and the atmosphere she’s created is a welcoming and evocative as the food.
The award was given by Restaurant Magazine. A regional panel of food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, and ‘gastronomes’ chose the restaurants. What makes the award so special is that it’s purely based on food and atmosphere, and every restaurant in the world is eligible.
Congratulations Joan, Josep, and Jordi! We’ll see you soon!
All about El Celler de Can Roca: www.cellercanroca.com
Inspiration from Sandra Tarruella: www.sandratarruella.com
Contributing writer: Alicia Reuter
Dieter Hofmann is a busy man, and you wouldn’t expect anything else from the man behind White Line Hotels collaborator blickfang, a design tradeshow unlike any other. If having already held fairs this year in both Stuttgart and Basel weren’t enough, Vienna, Tokyo and Zurich are still to come before the end of 2011. blickfang isn’t just ambitious in it’s program, but also in it’s vision. We caught up with Dieter Hofmann to find out more about that vision from the man himself.
You’ve probably been asked a thousand times before, but what prompted the creation of blickfang?
Interior Design has always been my passion. So when my brother and I first started to organize exhibitions we began with the local design scene. The first blickfang took place in our hometown Stuttgart back in 1993 and only presented interior designers. But only after one year we had the idea to also integrate fashion and jewelry and suddenly the idea of blickfang as it is today, was born!
When people think about tradeshows, they think about large halls filled with industry professionals talking to other industry professionals. How is blickfang different?
My approach to design was always driven by my personal interest as a consumer. I was always looking for this very special and individual product apart from mass production and mass design. What makes blickfang so successful is the fact that there are more people out there that are also looking for a very special experience that could be found in unique design. And this is exactly what makes blickfang different! Our exhibition attracts a design-interested audience who gets the chance to talk to the designers themselves. There is no professional sales person introducing them to the products but the creative person himself. They not just fall in love with the item but also get to know the creative mind, the story and the philosophy behind the scene. And what makes things even better is the fact that the visitors can buy their most favorite piece directly at the booth! Besides the sales part we try to emphasize the lifestyle aspect of blickfang. The exhibition does not take place in large trade fair halls but directly in the city where life and culture takes place. Blickfang also has a wide range of supporting programs such as lounges, fashion performances or specials shows that strengthens our design competence and keeps blickfang up to date.
Fashion and jewelry are a natural pair, but not everyone would add furniture to the mix. How do these 3 fields of design mix within blickfang?
Well they actually mix very well! Our visitors are mostly interested in things that make their life more beautiful and this can be a ring, a table, a bag or a dress! But to allow the visitors to get an easy overview of the exhibition we present furniture and interior accessories in other parts of the exhibition space than fashion and jewelry design. This gives the visitors a choice and the chance to explore whatever lies in their personal interest.
The accessibility to consumers and the face-to-face contact between the designers and potential customers is something really special about blickfang. What kind of feedback do you get from exhibiting designers and visitors about the experience?
The feedback of the exhibiting designers is very motivating and confirms our concept. They value the direct contact because this gives them the opportunity to get a first hand look on how their ideas are accepted on the open market. The feedback of the costumers inspires them and sometimes even has an impact on their ideas for their future works. In times where it’s not easy to place a new product in stores blickfang is also a way to get your product out there without any financial commitment with distributors or retailers. The visitors on the other hand value the emotional aspect of blickfang. The sales experience is unique and more personal than in any store.
How do blickfang and the exhibiting designers come together? How do you select them? What do think attracts designers to blickfang?
Within the past years of organizing blickfang and of visiting all important trade shows all over the world we have built up a huge network and database with thousands of addresses of up and coming designers. They all get the chance to apply for the various blickfang settings. A jury selects the designers who participate within the show. We always have about twice as many applications than space available and I think that this is because of our uniqueness and our international approach. We also emphasized our goal to not just be a sales exhibition but to give the audience an in depth overview of the design scene of tomorrow. This includes high-end designers, high end advertisement and competent partner network as well as our close relationship to our exhibitors.
What do you think makes individual and small-production items so appealing right now? Is it just a backlash to the IKEAs and H&Ms of the world, or is there something else to it?
I am not sure if we can call this a recent trend. Blickfang has been successful since the past 20 years so there has always been a certain interest in individual and unique items. But perhaps it has increased. Perhaps today’s consumers are more conscious about what they spent their money for. Conscious about the origin of the item, the material, the way it was produced. Authenticity is the new luxury! We also have a huge choice of millions of different products with the same function. Today’s technical achievements give us the opportunity to always be connected with the whole world and to stay in contact with a huge social and global network. Perhaps there is an opposite trend where we all value our local community and our local resources. Blickfang strengthens the local community and brings it together with an international audience and still highlights the direct contact. The best stories are the authentic stories, when you see the glow in the eye of a designer when he talks about his visions. This cannot be replaced by any achievement in communication techniques.
The first blickfang took place in Stuttgart in 1993 and you’ve been steadily expanding since then with additional fairs taking place every year in Zurich (since 1997), Vienna (since 2004), Tokyo (since 2006), and now Basel (since 2010). Over those 18 years have you seen a change in what people want and expect from a product? If so, has blickfang changed to accomodate those trends?
Well the visitors of blickfang have always been looking for something functional but special. Of course we have seen various trends especially when it comes to materials or shapes. And the selection of designers who participate within blickfang has always been a mirror of those design trends. What we have seen throughout the years is that the local markets function very differently from each other. People in Austria enjoy other products than people in Switzerland. Since blickfang is connected to the local market, the choice of the designers has always been a reflection of the local interests.
Speaking about expansion, as blickfang has grown, has it been difficult to maintain the intimacy of the event?
The intimacy of the event will not get lost no matter how big blickfang is. The designers actually get the chance to create their own space within their booth. Generally they book very small spaces compared to other trade shows and try to create an own world speaking for their label, philosophy and design personality. So even if blickfang is big, as soon as a visitor steps into a booth he is caught up in an intimate surrounding of the design label. This spirit will not get lost since this is the basis of our concept.
I read that for the Stuttgart fair this year there’s also a daily lecture series, and some of the topics look fascinating. This seems like a really innovative approach and one that will definately give some fodder for discussion. Will this continue and what other plans do you have for blickfang in the coming years?
Yes, our team is always driven to present high end and innovative products but also to inspire our visitors and to entertain them while they explore our event. Our vision for the future is to intense the work with both the driving forces of the professional design industry and the up and coming scene to ensure inspiring and innovative content for our visitors and to help to develop the industry.
Contributing writer: Melissa Frost