Episode 04

Mario Botta Explores the Origin of Life for La Prairie

By Whitewall
Whitewall Presents, November 30, 2018
Chapter 1

Mario Botta and the Art of Building

La Prairie returns to Art Basel in Miami Beach this year to present a commissioned piece by Mario Botta. The Swiss architect has created an immersive installation, entitled Archisculpture. The organically shaped wood structure is meant to capture where life begins, encouraging viewers to experience the work from within.

WHITEWALL: Tell us about your work as an architect. What are your fields of interest?

MARIO BOTTA: The art of building! It is an ancient activity that requires constant renewal. To build is a way of giving shape to the history of one’s own time.

WW: How do the worlds of architecture and art intertwine? What do they have in common?

MB: Architecture and art must be able to understand the ongoing social, political, and cultural processes. They should act as seismographs, which are able to interpret the expectations and the ambitions of a community, thus promoting its development.

Good architecture, like the best artistic practices, has a pioneering role and promotes social transformation. Art and architecture are also forms of knowledge and expression, and they have this potential of renewing feelings, which make it possible for man to be reconciled with the culture, the hopes, and sometimes even the contradictions of his time.

La PrairieMario Botta
Photo by Nicola Gnesi, courtesy of Fondazione Henraux
La PrairiePhoto by Claude Dussex

WW: Being a Swiss artist, how do you relate to the Swiss brand La Prairie? How did you express values of Swissness in this exclusive creation?

MB: I’m always willing to support and encourage Swiss excellence. For La Prairie, I tried to express the most characteristic Swiss values: the precision of the execution, the purity of the form, the strength of the material, and the warm reception.

WW: You talk a lot about time. La Prairie strives to offer women timeless beauty. Why is the notion of time so important to you?

MB: The notion of time is inseparable from the one of memory. Resorting to memory gives the measure of time to the modernity of the invention and enables a relation to be established between the new reality and a history that belongs to us, as it is the history of humanity at large. The territory of memory plays a decisive role in today’s architectural planning process, given the specific historical context we live in and the fact that its models are inevitably influenced by the constant rushing and by the speed of changes.

Mario BottaMario Botta sketches Archisculpture

Chapter 1 — Noteworthy

La Prairie

La Prairie returns to Art Basel in Miami Beach this year to present a commissioned piece by Mario Botta.

Mario Botta

The Swiss architect has created an immersive installation, entitled Archisculpture.

La Prairie 18-10-24 Mario Botta16595

The organically shaped wood structure is meant to capture where life begins, encouraging viewers to experience the work from within.

Chapter 2

A Special Commission for Art Basel in Miami Beach

Mario Botta’s sculptural structure coincides with the launch of the Swiss luxury skincare brand’s latest Platinum Rare Collection innovation. Botta shares with Whitewaller the timeless inspiration behind Archisculpture, on view inside La Prairie’s pavilion at Art Basel in Miami Beach December 6–9.

WHITEWALL: Tell us about your collaboration with La Prairie and what inspired you to create Archisculpture?

MARIO BOTTA: The notions of origin, eternity, and timelessness are the main values of La Prairie’s “Platinum Rare Collection.” These references were a source of inspiration and led me to use clear geometric and contemporary forms combining aesthetics and functionality.

WW: What about the shape? What was your idea behind it?

MB: A tangible yet transparent pavilion. A material—the cedar wood—that gives off a distinctive smell. A space to promote the encounter between people.

La Prairie

WW: La Prairie expresses through their collections the perfect fusion of art and science. How does science and research play a role in your creations?

MB: Architecture represents the meeting between art and science, between the form created by man and the technique consolidated by history.

WW: How do you express the origin of life in this pavilion?

MB: The Archisculpture can symbolize a refuge, a womb, or a protection case where guests can find themselves and experience new sensations. The wooden lamellas convey a precarious condition of opacity and transparency, and the modular elements bestow a moiré effect if seen from a distance. The idea is to offer simple forms and materials to arouse emotions and establish a dialogue with the guests.

WW: You refer to this art piece as an Archisculpture. Can you elaborate on what you mean by this?

MB: Archisculpture evolves when architecture and art enter a dialogue, an architectural sculpture that is at once architecture and art.

Modern sculptures include key elements of architecture, and architecture can look like sculptural art itself. For me as an architect, art always needs a purpose. In my collaboration with La Prairie, it was clear from the beginning that I will not only create a sculpture, but also a space that people can experience and immerse themselves in.

Chapter 2 — Noteworthy

La Prairie 18-10-24 Mario Botta16782

Mario Botta's sculptural structure coincides with the launch of the Swiss luxury skincare brand’s latest Platinum Rare Collection innovation.

La Prairie

Botta designed a tangible yet transparent pavilion in cedar wood to promote the encounter between people.

Mario Botta

The idea is to offer simple forms and materials to arouse emotions and establish a dialogue with the guests.

Newsletter

Go inside the the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.