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Fernando Mastrangelo recreates Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux for Art Basel

The cradle of Swiss watchmaking is now traveling across the art scene.

Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Fernando Mastrangelo has made a habit out of using unusual materials for his sculptures, using sand, salt, and other granular materials to create pieces based on the places he’s visited.

This year, he’s partnered with luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet to design an immersive space called La Vallée in the Art Basel Hong Kong Collector’s Lounge. The lounge recreates Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux—the cradle of Swiss watchmaking—and is designed to walk the visitor through the region.

The Strata Wall and the Watchmaker’s Desk

The project extracted minerals from Vallée de Joux, which were then cast and repurposed to create walls, display cases, and furniture. In the middle of the lounge is a forest built out of sand, while silica-molded spruce trees display some of Audemars Piguet’s vintage designs, as well as the manufacture’s latest collection: Code 11.59.

An area called the Strata Wall showcases the materials used by the manufacture to create its timepieces—gold, brass, aventurine, sapphire glass, and iron—displaying how the brand’s work is rooted in the region. There’s also an area called the Escape Lounge, which invites visitors to stay and relax while it recreates the sunset at Vallée de Joux.

Fernando Mastrangelo at La Vallée

As Mastrangelo says: “It has been so rewarding to work with such a wonderful team on the Audemars Piguet Lounge. When I visited Audemars Piguet’s home in Switzerland, I was struck by the location’s timeless beauty and the technical mastery demonstrated by its watchmakers. Material elements are integral to their roots and at the core of my practice. The result is a design that experiments with forms, materials, and textures and creates a universe inspired by the Vallée de Joux.”  

La Valée will travel to the three Art Basel destinations this year, so if you missed it in Hong Kong, you can still catch in Basel, Switzerland in June, and in Miami, USA, in December. Check out the video below to see what how Mastrangelo designed the exhibit.