This art installation brings Swiss mountains to Miami

As an Art Basel associate partner since 2013, Audemars Piguet has devoted years to supporting the arts around the globe. For this year’s Art Basel events in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Miami, the luxury brand commissioned Brooklyn-based sculptural artist and designer Fernando Mastrangelo to create an immersive lounge space, which transports visitors to the Swiss Jura Mountains, where the company is headquartered.

The innovative spatial concept — which debuted in Hong Kong last March and will hold court in the Miami Convention Center from Dec. 3 to 8 — is titled “The Vallée.” It incorporates tones, textures and materials that evoke the brand’s scenic surroundings in the Vallée de Joux.

“I used the space to enhance what I do well — natural materials, subtle gradients and landscape language — based on my visits to the Swiss Jura mountains,” Mastrangelo says. “It’s a new way for people who know my work to interpret it.”

A stratified wall of the lounge evokes the region’s Combe Noire quarries, while a chandelier of crushed glass takes inspiration from stalactites in the Swiss Vallorbe Caves. Even the artisan workspace — where Audemars Piguet watchmakers demonstrate their formidable skills — has been created from boulders original to the Vallée de Joux. Elements from the new CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection (gold, brass, aventurine, sapphire glass, iron and octagonal shapes) are also highlighted.

“I wanted to consider time not only in a linear sense, the passage of time — but also in a geological sense, by drawing a parallel between the time it took for the land in the Vallée de Joux to be formed with the time it takes to create an Audemars Piguet watch,” Mastrangelo explains.

Meanwhile, Norwegian artist Jana Winderen amplifies Mastrangelo’s work with an adjacent sound installation, which takes visitors on an acoustic journey to the Jura Mountains. Her composition “Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux” blends sounds both accessible and inaccessible to the human ear, including the growth of 300-year-old spruce trees, and the movement of fish deep in Lac de Joux.

The lounge and sound space make for an engaging, Zen-like retreat that will be open to VIPs and collectors amid the hustle and bustle of Art Basel Miami Beach.

“I’ve always come to Miami this time of year, but never before like this,” says Mastrangelo.

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