447 14 rooms

14 Rooms
Curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist
A Collaboration between Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel
Hall 3, Messe Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Exhibition 14 - 22 June 2014

“14 Rooms” is taking place in the same hall where we designed a temporary architectural installation in 2001 – a concert hall for the European Month of Music. Now, in 2014, there will be 14 rooms for 14 artists to present live performances for small groups of people. This spectacular artistic project, already organized in various cities, will continue to take place in the coming years. Last year there were 13 rooms, this year there will be 14 and next year 15. The overall temporary installation of the rooms is variable but the basic properties of each one are always the same: a floor area of 5m x 5m, a height of 3.5m, a door and no windows. Earlier on, the rooms were laid out like scattered or compact settlements with lanes and plazas in between. We have opted for a stringent, linear arrangement of two parallel façades, painted white, each with seven doors. A mirrored wall placed at the two narrow ends optically extends the white façades and the doors to infinity. Instead of 14 doors, there seem to be twice, three or four times as many. Fourteen is a chance number; it will be 15 in 2015 and possibly 100 in the year 2100.

The location and the city where this exhibition takes place are not relevant in this temporary installation; the white walls and doors could be anywhere – unlike the HERE and NOW of the encounter between artworks and visitors.

The temporary installation is therefore an extreme abstraction, almost like a typological sculpture – a lane as broad as a plaza, typical of a small town in South America or China or Europe. Only the wooden handles used by visitors to enter the room vary slightly from door to door – 14 different handles, digitally cut out of wood, minimally distinguishable at first sight but each somewhat different in feeling.

The specificity of the location is not perceived unless visitors look up at the ceiling where they see a loadbearing structure whose archaic appearance testifies to the oldest surviving trade fair hall in Basel.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2014


Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Andreas Fries (Partner in Charge)
Project Team: María Ángeles Lerín Ruesca (Project Manager), Liliana Flilipa Amorim Rocha, Francisca Moura

Hans Ulrich Obrist
Klaus Biesenbach

Sam Keller - Fondation Beyeler
Marc Spiegler - Art Basel
Georges Delnon - Theater Basel

Art Basel, MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd., Basel, Switzerland

Design Consultant: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Executive Architect: Marc Bättig Management GmbH, Basel, Switzerland
Construction Management: ERNE AG Holzbau, Laufenburg, Switzerland
Structural Engineering: ERNE AG Holzbau, Laufenburg, Switzerland

Lighting Consultant: Zumtobel Licht AG, Zürich, Switzerland

General Contractor:
ERNE AG Holzbau, Laufenburg, Switzerland

Building Data:
Area of existing Hall 3: 4'700sqm
Footprint of installation: 1'260sqm
Length: 60m
Width: 21m
Height: 8m


14 Rooms. Edited by: Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel, Theater Basel. Exh. Cat. 14 Rooms. Art Basel, Basel. 14 June - 22 June 2014. Ostfildern, Hatje Cantz, 2014.