Introducing our new satellite space: von Bartha Insight
Leopold Weinberg, Co-owner of the Hotel Volkshaus Basel, answers 3 questions on a new outpost of our gallery at the Volkshaus Basel, redesigned by architects Herzog & de Meuron
Connected through friendship and their passion for art, Leopold Weinberg and Stefan von Bartha, have realised various art-related projects in different locations, such as the Imaginary Collection at Hotel Helvetia in Zurich and now the von Bartha Insight project at Hotel Volkshaus Basel, both as part of the WAC Art Initiative.
As hoteliers and restaurant owners, what role does art play in your venues – and who chooses what?
Art is a true passion for me – and one that my business partner Adrian Hagenbach shares. Because of that, it feels logical to bring art into our hotels and restaurants. By doing so, we achieve many different benefits: first and foremost, it’s a way to extend our private living rooms into spaces that are shared with the public, giving them an intimate and unique feel. Guests and staff have an opportunity to interact with art, and it’s a great conversation starter.
The ever-changing presentation and curation of art at our venues has become a project in its own right. Over the years we have implemented many initiatives related to art with artists, galleries and museums alike. Through art, we’ve expanded our creative network – that’s something we continue to do, and we’re conscious of remaining curious and open to new ideas. The art in our spaces always grows from a collaboration, which keeps it dynamic. Art therefore is not a “decorative element” for a wall, but rather a cultural proposition and the soul of our hotel and restaurant projects.
When designing a new space, we always seek to make it multi-faceted – in Basel, for example, the lobby of the Volkshaus also functions as a dynamic satellite of von Bartha – known as ‘von Bartha Insight’ – and will feature a changing programme of exhibitions. By doing so, we enhance the customer journey and set ourselves apart from other products existing in the market.
First of all, I find the enormous scale of his works very intriguing. Their sheer weight and size is spectacular. To show ‘12+13 Acute Unequal Angles’ we actually had to reinforce the floor.
Secondly, I like the proposition of a sculpture, basically bringing art away from the wall into the space; when you enter the hotel lobby, you’re automatically in dialogue with the work. Hotel guests, who move through the space before passing to the check-in counter and onwards to the elevators essentially undertake une promenade artistique, discovering the work from all angles.The architects behind Volkshaus Basel are Herzog & de Meuron. Were you inspired by their history of collaborating with artists – and did they have a say in the works on display?
Behind a great collaboration there are always great people. We are very grateful to have the great minds behind Herzog & de Meuron in our ‘Volkshaus-Team’. I wouldn’t say, that we got inspired by their artist collaborations, however – and more importantly so – their history of collaborating with artists meant that we were able to discuss our vision with them. And, of course, as a firm behind some of the most significant museums today, they obviously have a lot to say! Working with them was a privilege and a wonderful opportunity.
- Leopold Weinberg: Dipl. Arch. ETH, worked for several years in Switzerland and abroad as architect. In 2012, he started his own business together with lawyer Adrian Hagenbach (Content driven real estate development). Within the WAC (We Are Content) Group, he takes the role of creative lead and is the driving force behind “WAC Art Initiative“. Since 2017 Weinberg has been a member of the board of trustees at the Fotomuseum Winterthur.
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