alternative entrance to the Swiss Art Awards
In the heart of the city and yet completely detached from it, the Messe Basel is a Swiss interpretation of the hortus conclusus. Centrepiece of the complex, Halle 1’s perfectly flat glazed facade feigns transparency though constantly reflects its surroundings. As one of the few publicly funded events in the midst of the Art Basel week, the Swiss Art Awards is eager to have its share of the fun. By reconciling with its backdoor lover – the city – it might just find its mojo.
The intervention is straightforward: one of the 3.5 x 2 meter window panes of the half kilometer- long glass facade is pushed out and suspended in the air by steel clamps, and a window cleaning platform is hanged from the existing monumental beam crowning the building. On the street, curious passersby hop on the platform. Feeling the breeze in their hair and enjoying the view, the platform smoothly climbs. Eleven meters above the ground, passengers head through the gap left by the displaced window. Visitors inside the exhibition see people start to appear from this hole and wonder if this is part of the show. The city starts to leak into the building.
Throughout the art week, several thousand visitors entered through this leak, ranging from art aficionados to locals unaware of the event taking place inside the building. In between rides, a few disruptions took place such as a ping pong tournament, a candlelit dinner and a spontaneous concert given by students of Basel’s renowned jazz school.
About moving rather than adding, the project winks to Lucius and Annemarie Burckhardt’s principle of the minimal intervention: design is replaced by observation and matter by precision. A careful recomposition of the existing layers of the facade turns the building around, opening it towards the city.
The only element disrupting the perfect flatness of the facade, Deliberate Leak creates a quiet oscillation along the Riehenring. An ode to the everyday, the building maintenance, and the va-et-vient of the trams passing by.
Pierre Marmy, Sven & Charline, Jeremy Morris & MacIver-Ek Chevroulet
Thanks to Ikea Foundation & Ville de Neuchâtel