Hubert Burda Media

Audemars Piguet presents Sebastian Errazuriz and Cheng Ran

An art installation in itself, the Audemars Piguet booth at Art Basel in Hong Kong is where you need to be this week

With Art Basel in Hong Kong now underway, visitors ought to stop by the newly re-designed Audemars Piguet booth by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz within the Collectors Lounge.

Gone are his arresting Vallée de Joux-inspired ice formations (which matched the real weather conditions of a cold and rainy Hong Kong this time last year), instead, it is into the vast forests of the Jura Mountains that art lovers will find themselves transported to.

Second Nature by Sebastian Errazuriz

Second Nature by Sebastian Errazuriz

Called Second Nature, the new design centres around Errazuriz’s latest sculpture for the watchmaker — a spruce tree. Carved from actual trees grown in the Jura, near the birthplace of Audemars Piguet, and barren of leaves, it is an allegory of endless growth even in harsh environments.

As with Errazuriz’s booth concept for 2016, which travelled to each of the year’s Art Basel fairs, expect Second Nature to be “repotted”. The tree sculpture, will over the course of the year “sprout” new features: Buds for the Basel edition in June, and flowers for Miami Beach in December.

Filmstill of Circadian Rhythm by Cheng Ran

Filmstill of Circadian Rhythm by Cheng Ran

Nature, it seems, is the all-embracing inspiration for the watch manufacture’s art-related endeavours this year. Also staged at its booth at the Collectors Lounge is a specially commissioned video installation by Mongolia-born Chinese artist Cheng Ran, whose film Circadian Rhythm, set in the Vallée de Joux, transports the viewer on a journey between landscape and soundscape, intertwining the sounds of nature with mechanical watch beats.

To celebrate its new unveilings, the Swiss watch brand hosted a vernissage after party on March 22 at Zuma in Central Hong Kong. Among the 900 guests was Taiwanese actor Joseph Chang, best known for his award winning performance in Eternal Summer, who had only just earlier visited the new lounge.

Not just some dilettante in the glamorous fair circuit, the Swiss watchmaker’s support for the arts and its ever more ambitious engagements within the art world is beginning to earn it a reputation of a corporate Medici. Since the start of its partnership with the fair in 2013, and the formalisation of the Audemars Piguet Art Commission in 2015, it has presented or commissioned artists the likes of Kurt Hentschläge, Theo Jansen and Sun Xun.