Simonett & Baer indexes the work of Herzog & de Meuron
Inspired by the many Herzog & de Meuron works of architecture in his home city of Basel, publisher Dino Simonett has created a technicolour tome as an index, a tribute and a celebration of the international work of the architects
Basel-based publisher Simonett & Baer has released a book charting the first 500 projects of international architecture firm Herzog & De Meuron. The fly-through index of projects from 1978 to 2019 offers a page-turning outtake of the studio’s evolution, scope and breadth.
Covering plenty of ground, the book’s simple presentation makes it all the more engaging. Each project is dedicated just one landscape image, a title and a number. Four projects occupy each double page spread – the rhythm is tangible.
Projects both realised and unrealised include the most recognisable hits – the VitraHaus, Prada Aoyama, Tate Modern, Beijing’s National Stadium, the Elbphilharmonie. There’s plenty of discovery, and rediscovery, from Studio Remy Zaugg in France, to the Napa Valley Dominius Winery or the Naturbad Riehen. Not to mention competition entries, research studies and website redesigns.
‘How exciting it is to stroll around the world, starting in Basel and ending in Harvard,’ write the publishers in their 2020 catalogue that features news, art and antics from Dino Simonett and Martina Baer. Simonett moved to Basel in 2016 with his family, and spent longer than necessary unpacking because each evening he was studying the architecture of Herzog & de Meuron (chronologically) found all over his new home city. This book is made as a ‘tribute to Herzog and de Meuron and to the city that became our new home,’ he writes in his Editor’s Note.
In the introduction, Michel Kessler, ETH Zurich-trained architect and Herzog & de Meuron employee 2012–13, unwraps the studio’s ‘quasi-archaeological tactics’ starting with the 1979 remodelling of the Marttplatz in Basel. Then, picks black nylon garments designed for Prada, to reveal the variation that has positioned Herzog & de Meuron as a ‘sensory hinge’ between the 20th and 21st centuries – ‘between the clear, cold forms of modernism and the intelligible, digital age.’
This limited edition of 2000 is a useful and beautiful addition to any shelf. While the 200-run Collector’s Edition is a unique piece of art – the rainbow cover has been silkscreen printed on linen and the book signed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. §