14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
07 Jun - 23 Nov 2014
Salon Suisse
«Salon Suisse» 2014 curated by Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer

Salon Suisse «Inaugural Session»
The next 100 Years – Scenarios for an Alpine City State

Complementing the exhibition at the Pavilion of Switzerland at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia organizes a Collateral Event entitled «Salon Suisse». The «Salon Suisse», now in its third year, is a programme of talks and events offering a platform for exchange on contemporary architecture and thought in a relaxed atmosphere.

This year’s «Salon Suisse» is curated by Zurich-based architects and urbanists Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer, founders of Hosoya Schaefer Architects, who have put together an ambitious programme of events focusing on questions around urban development in Switzerland and the increasing pressure of urbanization worldwide.

The events will be modelled after a Constitutional Assembly and serve as a thought experiment in critical urbanity. Projecting this Biennale’s preoccupation with the last century into the future and using the historic arc of the Venetian city state as a backdrop, how can the next 100 years be envisioned in an increasingly urban and volatile world? What would a contemporary conception for Switzerland be in this context? If it had to be founded today, what would be its guiding principles, its business model and its social contract? And how could architecture and urban design support such an endeavour; to what extent do these disciplines need to be political?

To discuss these questions the curators invited thinkers, practitioners and activists to envision such a state and ultimately a physical environment inspired by but without the gritty detail of today’s political reality. 

The opening event takes place on June 7 at 11am as an «Inaugural Session» accompanied by a brunch. This initial hearing is meant to collect short statements from Swiss and international practitioners on possible «Scenarios for an Alpine City State» as a missive for the Salons to come.

The First Salon (4 to 6 September) «Design – The Nature of Cities» attempts to establish a shared understanding of cities and of the state of the contemporary urban system with the participation of urban geographer Edward D. Soja, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, complex systems scientist Didier Sornette or anthropologist and activist David Graeber amongst several others.

The Second Salon (9 to 11 October) «Build – The Reality of Cities» questions how urban ideas become reality. The discussion includes politicians, entrepreneurs and practitioners such as Japanese architectural planner Yasuaki Onoda and the urban designers Jan Gehl, Marc Angélil and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto among others.

The Third Salon (30 October to 1 November) «Use – The Culture of Cities» approaches the theme of how culture emerges within a city. The talks include author and co-founder of Neustart Schweiz Hans Widmer as well as Opendata.ch co-founder Hannes Gassert. Norihito Nakatani and Jiang Jun, contributors of the Japanese and Chinese pavilions respectively, will discuss their research on more traditional forms of collectives with among others Mark Leonard, Co-Founder and Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think-tank.

The «Final Assembly» is the closing event of the «Salon Suisse» 2014 (20 to 22 November). It will focus on summarizing and editing the results of the Salon in collaboration with writers and journalists such as Lukas Bärfuss or Finn Canonica who accompanied the entire series by recording and intervening.

For the duration of the series of events, the «Salon Suisse» is open three days a week, on Thursday to Saturday from 6.00pm to 10.00pm. All events are free of admission charge and open to everyone.

Partner: Laufen Bathrooms AG

Sponsors of the «Salon Suisse» weekends:
FSA Federation of Swiss Architects
Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction
technologycluster-zugV-ZUG Immobilien AG
Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA)

Furniture sponsors: USM U. Schärer Söhne AG; Cassina

Media partners: Das MagazinSpecialist journals TEC21, Tracés, archi / www.espazium.chOpendata.chwerk, bauen + wohnen

Photo by Jos Schmid