Chilean-born artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz has designed Swiss watchmaking brand Audemars Piguet's new lounge for Art Basel Hong Kong. "Taking inspiration from the ice formations and snowy winters of Audemars Piguet’s home in Le Brassus, Switzerland, the lounge will express the purity of nature and the passing of time," says Errazuriz.
"With water and ice as its main thematic elements, the new stand will give form to the concept of ice cycle as a metaphor of time. Three key components will anchor Errazuriz’s design: the icicle as a beautiful form, accumulating over time; the water drop, seen as nature’s ticking pulse; and ripples in the water, symbolizing the forward movement of new life. The drips of the melting icicles resemble nature’s pulse, like the beating of a heart or a ticking clock."
From the architect: Errazuriz’s innovative creations blur the boundaries between contemporary art, design and craft. In his Brooklyn studio, he creates exceptional masterpieces of furniture which are avidly sought after by collectors. His design objects and installations have been widely exhibited in museums. Focused on excellence, Errazuriz frequently mixes traditional artisan techniques with high-tech computer milling and 3D printing. The results are innovative, original designs created using only the finest materials, mirroring the values of technological mastery at the heart of Audemars Piguet’s watchmaking.
The new lounge will seek to remind the viewer of a space of reflection. Showcasing exceptional visuals by photographer Dan Holdsworth named Continuous Topography, it will include a soundproof room enveloped with custom-designed panels adorned with patterns of icicles, stalactites, and stalagmites. The space functions as a private vault, with a chiming timepiece at its core. The façade of the lounge will include a striking ice tank, composed of illuminated acrylic rods which will flash to mimic the regular rhythm of a heartbeat.
A selection of 10 intricately detailed open-worked watches, exquisite gem-set high jewellery watches, and pioneering minute-repeating wristwatches will be displayed in the lounge. Echoing Errazuriz’s diverse design practices, these three categories of watchmaking require the expertise and dedication of specialised craftsmen, each of them masters in their respective fields. The Haute Joaillerie Diamond Fury and Diamond Punk watches will be displayed within a one-of-a-kind showcase composed of mirror fragments, allowing the viewer to observe the iconic timepieces through a dazzling kaleidoscope effect.
Also during Art Basel in Hong Kong, Audemars Piguet will release The Art Projects of Audemars Piguet 2013- 2015, a 115-page book summarizing the company’s growing engagement with contemporary art. With an introductory essay surveying the intertwining history of fine watchmaking and art, the richly illustrated volume includes texts, interviews, and documentation about Audemars Piguet’s manifold partnerships in the visual art world and about the exceptional artistic projects undertaken with the patronage and active involvement of the brand in recent years.
Audemars Piguet became an official Associate Sponsor for Art Basel in 2013 and renewed its global partnership with a multi-year commitment in December 2015. Since 2015, the brand has presented innovative lounge concepts in the Collectors Lounge at all three Art Basel shows, inviting designers and artists to creatively interpret Audemars Piguet’s heritage and origins.
“I was humbled by the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the Audemars Piguet watchmakers in Le Brassus," said Errazuriz. "The work they have been doing for almost two centuries is so incredible that any creative person who visits their installations will feel inspired to hold themselves to a higher standard of gravitas, beauty, and precision. The new lounge will hopefully become an experience for its visitors, managing to steal their attention and offering them a space to take a moment to think about time.”
Following Art Basel in Hong Kong, the Audemars Piguet booth will travel to the Collectors Lounge at Art Basel in Basel 16 – 19 June 2016, and Art Basel in Miami Beach 1 – 4 December 2016.