It is here that protagonists of the art business gather
von | Sep 1, 2015

Let’s be honest here – who would not feel flattered at having been able to bag a “VIP ticket” for the Art Basel? After all, what takes place in Basel every year is not any old art show where you can buy the one or other piece. No, it is the world’s leading fair for modern, contemporary art. Every year, it is a stupendous spectacle at which large numbers of works of art and a great deal of money change hands. And who would not like to be one of the fortunate few when they all gather and mingle, the big names on the international art scene – or at least to feel like one of them: young artists who have long become world-famous, the gallery owners and dealers who are serious and glamorous in equal measure, ambitious collectors and people who would like to become such plus the throng of curators, museum directors and critics on the lookout for the latest trends – along with any number of ordinary people with an interest in such things. Since there is a great deal to be seen and many meetings are involved, a day at Art Basel is not just a matter of fun but also quite taxing. And anybody with ambitions to acquire a painting by Pablo Picasso or Gerhard Richter, a sculpture by Rita McBride or possibly even an installation by Saadane Afif prefers to discuss the relevant transaction with the seller in peace and quiet.

The best place for this is the exclusive VIP lounge. Be it in the restaurant, at the bar or in its comfortable seating areas. These are the kinds of places where people can simply relax away from the hustle bustle of the fair, hold interviews without interruption and conduct business. As far as the lounge’s furnishings are concerned it goes without saying that what is called for is likewise quality and expertise. Last year, the VIP lounge was fitted out with furniture by Arper, whose exquisite Italian design creates an ideal atmosphere, one in which the exponents of the art world feel at home. Swiss architects Steinmann und Schmid designed the lounge as an inviting and cheerful place, choosing light floors and walls combined with impressive ceiling luminaires which flood the room with daylight. In this environment the chairs by Arper form comfortable seating groups and, with their flowing lines, soft upholstery and lively colors, radiate a sense of Italian airiness.

In front of the cafeteria, a group of “Loops”, a modular sofa, have been arranged in a semicircle, forming a self-contained quiet zone, with its consistently linear lines and its matching tables from the “Dizzie” range. The comfortable swivel chairs “Catifa 60”, some of them resplendent with covers in a fresh lime green, complete the area. By contrast, at the spacious windows the same chairs radiate in warm shades of red, thus creating distinctive splashes of color. The design of the meeting area is somewhat more formal. It is equipped with long conference tables from the “Nuur” range which, with its broad yet almost paper-thin tabletops, provide enough space for dining and meetings. So, anyone already in possession of a VIP ticket can relax here or ponder exactly which work of art they hope to acquire. And, as pleasant as the design of the lounge most certainly is, it cannot, unfortunately, make choosing between the various tempting works on offer any easier.

In 2004, the “Daily Telegraph” described the most important contemporary art fair as “The Olympics of the Art World” – the exhibition is a relevant platform for artists, gallery owners and publishers.
Photo © Daniel & Tonatiuh
Now a little break: The blue office swivel lounge chairs from the “Catifa 60” range radiated elegance, with their soft lines and filigree aluminum bases match perfectly with the “Dizzie tables”.
Photo © Jans H. Münchhalfen
A sea of tulips consisting of ruby-red chairs from the “Catifa 70” range designed by the Lievore Altherr Molina studios. Photo © Jans H. Münchhalfen
A little oasis in the big world of art: The VIP lounge at Art Basel resembles a “Who’s Who” of the business. Photo © Jans H. Münchhalfen
Italian flair for superior guests: In 2014, sofas from the “Loop” range created a self-contained oasis of calm in the VIP lounge. Photo © Jans H. Münchhalfen
A nod to James Irvine: The interior decorators equipped the meeting area with purist chairs from the “Juno” range that look as if they were cast in a single piece. “Nuur” tables complete the setting.
Photo © Jans H. Münchhalfen
Smooth forms and the comfortable and curved seat mark the striking elements of the office swivel chair, here in fresh orange. Photo © Arper

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