Flying flicker: this year’s Netjets lounge at Art Basel casts a mesmerising glow
On the occasion of its 16-year partnership with Art Basel, private jet airline Netjets unveils yet another project in collaboration with the fair. This year, the Netjets collectors lounge featured a bespoke installation by Swedish artist Frida Fjellman, who gave her signature blown glass lanterns a new spatial interpretation.
The lanterns first appeared as part of a solo exhibition of the artist’s work in 2015, and since been developed in a variety of colours and sizes, keeping their distinctive mouth blown glass and metal features, and presented both as single pieces or as chandelier-like clusters. Fjellman has been working with Sweden’s The Glass Factory, an art glass producer based in Boda – a small village in the country’s forests – to develop the project over the last two years.
‘When I first created these lamps, my intention was not to make something beautiful, or useful,’ says Fjellman. ‘I wanted something that looked like exaggerated jewellery, that looked beautiful but also a bit weird; it’s interesting and a bit surprising that people want them.’
The lamps were shown at Design Miami/ in 2016, as part of a large installation by Hostler Burrows (this year’s Design Miami/Basel also had a smaller selection on display at the gallery’s booth), and that’s where they caught Netjets’ attention. The artist was given free reign on the lounge space, and over four months developed an installation of 100 lanterns (her largest installation of these pieces to date) in different shades and sizes, also producing a new large-scale piece that pushes the limits of production.
The lanterns hang on the ceiling in colour clusters, and the lights are discreetly turned on and off with a slow breathing pulse. ‘My intention was to create a calming environment to de-stress from the fair,’ says the artist. Titled ’Crystal Atmosphere,’ the lounge installation affirms the private aviation company’s commitment to the arts, with previous projects featuring collaborations with art/design duo Snarkitecture and British artist Rebecca Louise Law.
‘I was interested in exploring the almost magical sense of tranquility that you experience when cruising above the clouds,’ concludes Fjellman. ‘Flying is perhaps one of the few oasis of calm in our increasingly interconnected digital society.’