Artist Fernando Mastrangelo Wants to Help You Relax After a Long Day at Art Basel Hong Kong in a Lounge Inspired by the Swiss Mountains

The artist has partnered with Audemars Piguet to transform the fair's collectors lounge into a calming mountainous retreat.

Fernando Mastrangelo, Strata Wall (2019). Courtesy of the artist and FM/S Presents.

For some, time is measured out in the tick-tick of seconds on a wristwatch. For others, it’s in the geologic strata of a mountain older than humankind. At this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong, you can experience both simultaneously thanks to Brooklyn-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo, who has been commissioned by the 144-year old haute watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet to jazz up the fair’s collectors lounge.

Mastrangelo, a sculptor known for working with natural and appropriated materials—from salt and sand to cremated ashes—will turn the lounge into a mini-mountainous vista inspired by the Swiss Jura Mountains, where visitors can take a load off in a space replete with gradated walls of stone, crushed glass chandeliers, and an octagonal relaxation area based on the watch company’s new collection, Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet.

Fernando Mastrangelo, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

“The lounge for me is way to tell the story of Audemars Piguet and its rich history,” Mastrangelo tells artnet News. “I use natural materials to tell this story and connect it to my narrative as an artist and designer.”

The materials behind his designs were sourced from the Jura Mountains and the Vallée de Joux nestled between its peaks, where Audemars Piguet’s headquarters live. The artist crushed these materials to create his signature tiered layers of different tones and textures. Looking at his designs is like looking inside a stone to chart its geologic evolution—which is appropriate, given the sponsoring company’s relationship to time.

Detail of Fernando Mastrangelo’s Strata Wall (2019). Courtesy of the artist and FM/S Presents.

“Time was definitely a new element for me to consider for this installation,” Mastrangelo says. “I tried to think about time in a larger sense, in a geological sense. Trees, caves, strata layers, rocks—these all take an extreme amount of time to form, and I thought this could be the best way to really think about time. The sunset will give people a sense of time passing while watching the colors change. The space is about creation and how long things take to become perfect and elegant. It serves as a metaphor for Audemars Piguet itself.”

Can’t make it to Hong Kong this year? You’re in luck: Mastrangelo’s design will also travel to Art Basel in Switzerland in June, and Miami Beach this December.

Fernando Mastrangelo, Rock Sofa (2019). Courtesy of the artist and FM/S Presents.

Art Basel Hong Kong will be on view from March 29–31, 2019 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.


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