by Oliver Jutzi, Jr. Project Manager
For a second year in a row, innovative Swiss design shone during New York City’s premier design event, NYCxDESIGN – a citywide celebration comprising 500 events and 228 venues. From May 7 to 17, swissnex helped support an exhibit from ECAL, the University of Art and Design Lausanne at the Brooklyn venue of WantedDesign, located at Industry City, a sprawling post-industrial site by the Brooklyn waterfront. Founded in 2011 by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, WantedDesign is an NYC-based “platform dedicated to promoting design and fostering the international creative community at large throughout the year.”
As part of its commitment to promoting innovation in culture, swissnex Boston and its New York Outpost partnered with ECAL to showcase the design research project Heart of Glass, which examined the potential of glass in contemporary art and design. On swissnex’s initiative, the exhibit also featured prominently during Grassy Lectures, a side event at the studio of Cyril Porchet, a Swiss photographer in residency in New York City. Grassy Lectures is an art and design lecture series featuring artist talks about their professional experience, philosophies, and process. Initiated by Cyril Porchet, along with Luke Archer (graphic designer and lecturer at Yale University) and Martina-Sofie Wildberger (Swiss artist-performer in residency in NYC) the series aims to connect the cultural and artistic scenes of NYC and Switzerland.
Held on May 6 and titled “For, Through, and Beyond the Show” the third edition of Grassy Lectures featured Heart of Glass scenographer Camille Blin and two New York-based architects: Bika Rebek from Slovenia and Christian Wassmann from Switzerland. An insightful Q&A followed the presentations and addressed issues such as the importance of scenography when exhibiting relatively small objects like the ones crafted by the ECAL students.
Saturday, May 7, was the grand opening of WantedDesign Brooklyn. Alexis Georgacopoulos (Director of ECAL), Camille Blin, as well as Oliver Haugen and Cécile Vulliemin from swissnex, had the opportunity to attend the official ceremonies before the doors opened to more than 4,000 visitors. The impressive crowd quickly filled up every corner of the former industrial site – the perfect backdrop for the many exhibits WantedDesign had selected for this year’s edition. This first wave of visitors gravitated to Heart of Glass and offered uniformly enthusiastic praise of the display and pieces, to the obvious delight of swissnex and ECAL staff present.
On May 12, swissnex joined Ambassador André Schaller, Consul General of Switzerland in New York, as well as a small group from the Consulate for a guided tour of Heart of Glass and other WantedDesign Brooklyn exhibits. Antoine Vauthey, Head of Exhibitions at ECAL, took the group through the collection of glass experiments, and offered insights into how the students questioned the future of glass in contemporary art and design. Later, WantedDesign co-founder Odile Hainaut kindly served as a guide through other notable exhibits such as the Transatlantic Creative Exchange, a project featuring collaborations between French and American designers and manufacturers.
Overall, the presence of Heart of Glass at WantedDesign was a great success, and we look forward to seeing other Swiss pioneering projects again at the next edition.