Untitled, 2014 – 2017
© 2014, Mai-Thu Perret and Marc Camille Chaimowicz
Image copyright Stefan AltenburgerA curtain is a filter between the self and the outside world, an interface between the private and the public. – Marc Camille Chaimowicz
Think Tanks, secluded areas for individual work, or work in small groups, are key to the flexible workplace concept at Swiss Re Next. These Think Tanks are transparent and glass-walled and that is why they need the possibility of privacy. This is where Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Mai-Thu Perret joined forces to create curtains for the Think Tanks – coming from very different angles. For years, it has been central to Chaimowicz' work how to furnish rooms, how to design and thus define them, how to giving them their character. Atmosphere is the first thing he pays attention to when he enters a room, says Chaimowicz. Atmosphere – this means the way things add up to an overall picture, and above all: how this overall picture feels. And the same applies to these curtains.
Mai-Thu Perret, for her part, wanted to be a writer. But then she gradually switched to fine art. Yet, she stayed with writing - in a sense. In the late 1990s, she began working on the fragmentary narrative of a story set in a feminist commune, entitled The Crystal Frontier. It is a hybrid between storytelling and concept, part of Perret’s art but also a means to an end, and it allows her to articulate ideas that are often not accessible via artworks alone. Her curtains fit almost seamlessly into her oeuvre and its themes. Because they, too, are immensely multi-layered. Each artist contributed four designs that were then made in different colours and hung in different combinations on the various floors. Chaimowicz’s designs, titled Zürich, Monaco, London and Paris, are precise forms, sometime curved, elegant and round, sometimes meandering and shimmering.
Whereas Chaimowicz drew his designs himself, Perret based hers on found materials. As a result, her designs all point somewhere else, into the history of the 20th century and its artistic and social movements, as well as into other cultural spheres. “My designs,” Perret says, “convey a certain variety.”