Copyright 2022
huber.huber and the authors

Redesign the "Residence Polyglot" Swiss Re: "Umland" and "Umkristallisation", 2013/14

The "Residence Polyglot" offers Swiss Re comfortable accommodation for international employees travelling to Zurich.
The recent refurbishment of the rooms included a complete change in the artworks on display. Together with Swiss artists huber.huber, an entirely new art concept was created specifically for the hotel rooms and stairwell of the property.

The two series of artworks "Umland" and "Umkristallisation" (Recrystallisation) are masterfully juxtaposed and link the public areas of the building with the individual hotel rooms, thus creating a harmonious atmosphere for the visitors.
In the main entrance, guests are welcomed by the first large collage from the "Umland" series. Another large-format work hangs in the stairwell, while three other smaller collages have been placed in the corridors of the upper floors.

Both the technique used and the monochrome backgrounds (sky) speak the same language as the small-format "Umkristallisation" works that have been hung in the hotel rooms. The "Umland" collages were specifically created to form a unit with the crystal collages in the rooms, but also enter into an engaging dialogue with them.
The works are not merely aesthetically pleasing; when viewed closely, they captivate the observer with their "displacements" and small "breaches". Suddenly, you notice that the waterfalls are flowing upwards and that the sky has become a landscape. In their works, the artists adroitly defy the laws of physics, leading us inevitably to question our own perceptions.

Asked what they considered to be the most interesting aspect of the project, the artists replied:
"For us, the out-of-the-ordinary hotel setting with its public and private spaces was fascinating. In developing the overall concept, we thought and worked as if we were creating an installation. The form and content of the works are our response to this exciting challenge."

UMLAND, 2014
Mixed media, set of 5; Various dimensions

In the Umland series, we see collaged images of the natural landscape, into which incongruous items have been placed. In one, a stone sculpture of a woman is placed within a conglomeration of glacial landscapes.

In addition, each collage has small breaches – displacements: for instance, waterfalls flow upwards, the sky becomes landscape, the icy landscape creates antique Greek statues. Physical laws are thrown overboard; perceptions are questioned.

From the cosmic landscape, the visitor reaches in his/her room a part of the micro cosmos and finds there the "recrystallisation" crystals like they could have been created in the surreal landscapes.

UMKRISTALLISATION (Recrystallisation), 2013
Mixed media, set of 44; Various dimensions

The term "recrystallisation" describes a key process for purifying chemical compounds. The substance to be purified dissolves at a higher temperature, the saturated solution is filtered and then cooled down; afterwards, the pure substance recrystallises. Thus it's basically a purifying process from which new substances emerge through the dissolution of existing substances.

In "Recrystallisation, 2013" huber.huber apply the basic idea of this chemical process in the collage.

By affixing various elements to a base, a new whole is created, whose functioning is similar to the recrystallisation process.
Therefore, huber.huber literally intervenes in the existing crystalline structure, as described by the recrystallisation process. What's fascinating about this is that, in the collages, they allow new crystalline structures to form on paper from existing crystals, but which don't occur in reality.

(Art at Swiss Re; Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd)