Hubertus Adam, art historian and architecture critic, in conversation with Frédéric Dedelley about his understanding of design and the collaboration with horgenglarus
How did you come into contact with horgenglarus?
As a Swiss designer, I’ve obviously known about the company for a long time. Years ago, I even sent a design proposal, but nothing came of it back then. What fascinates me most about horgenglarus is the mix of traditional craftsmanship and modern processing techniques, which I believe offers huge potential.
You were involved in the ‘Take a seat’ project. Between 2009 and 2015, Café Z am Park in Wiedikon, Zurich commissioned a total of 65 artists and designers to reinterpret – or rather transfigure – four horgenglarus ‘classics’. The chairs were created during the 1920s and, with their solid frames, are considered as the epitome of anonymous Swiss design today. After a few months of use, the reinterpreted chairs were auctioned.
‘Take a seat’ inspired me to take a closer look at the history of the company and the significance of the chairs in Swiss design history. Under the title of ‘Heimweh’ (‘Homesickness’), my reinterpretation of the chairs using ornamental sawing techniques aimed to remind people of the traditional sawn farmer’s chairs known as Stabelle chairs. I believed that without Stabelle chairs, there wouldn’t be any horgenglarus chairs in the first place.