Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel
We – Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron – have decided to establish a cabinet into which we plan to integrate our estate as an endowment.
The Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel, is a charitable foundation established with the intention of making the entire body of the estate, divided into sub-cabinets, accessible to the public. Our aim, first and foremost, is to have the holdings permanently domiciled in Basel in their entirety, such that they may contribute to the cultural substance of our native city, which has been a lifelong inspiration to us. To that end, the museums and institutions in Basel will have priority in view of possible loan inquiries. The Kunstmuseum Basel, in particular, is privileged, should there be an interest in presenting parts of the cabinet on permanent loan. Logically, therefore, the respective director of the Kunstmuseum will join Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Partner-in-Charge Esther Zumsteg as the fourth member of the board. In addition, by establishing the Kabinett, we have found a means of resolving issues of inheritance and ensuring that the substance of our estate will not be traded on the art market.
Why a Kabinett? The term ‘cabinet’ stands for something intimate, something that has emerged and been preserved with great care over the course of many decades and, above all, something that should remain fruitfully workable despite the substantial holdings. Equally, it is a Kabinett because – to the extent the conservatorial considerations permit – the entire archives are installed for viewing in our Helsinki Dreispitz building, which is more in the nature of a showroom than a warehouse.
An extremely diverse concatenation of mutually complementary parts is integrated into the Kabinett, representing the multiplicity and openness that has always been crucial to our collaborative approach. These parts are organized in sub-cabinets, defined by content that shares related archival properties and requirements. The subdivision ensures a better overview as well as individualized care and accessibility.
All the items and materials that have been produced, collected and archived in the offices of Herzog & de Meuron since 1978, are divided into categories as follows:
– a cabinet of plans (plans as well as analog and digital technical drawings),
– a cabinet of drawings (drawings, sketches, sketchbooks and diagrams, of our own making with very few exceptions),
– a cabinet of pictures (renderings, photographs, films and videos),
– a cabinet of models (experiments with materials, mockups and models);
– a cabinet of texts (written documents, essays, descriptions of projects, theoretical studies, organograms and texts by others, such as reviews and press materials).
In addition, one Kabinett is devoted to our art collection. We have come into the possession of numerous works of art over the years, all of them from artist friends with whom we tried out many different ways of working together. These works of art, acquired through purchase, as gifts or as working material, are crucial and indispensable forms of expression and constituents of our own work.
In 2015 we have acquired the magnificent and wide-ranging collection of historical photographs formerly in possession of Ruth and Peter Herzog, Basel. The spontaneous decision to make this acquisition was fostered by a concrete opportunity and with absolutely no strategic intent. The unique collection of photographs and albums is integrated into our Kabinett as an independent entity under its original name. However, the crucial motivation behind the acquisition of these 'mythical holdings' was to reinforce the role of Basel as a city of art alongside its most important institution, the Kunstmuseum. The ongoing processing and cataloging of these unique holdings will ensure that the museum has a vibrant and vital collection of photography at its disposal.
Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, June 2015, July 2020
Please note that the Kabinett is not open to the public. Access is possible by appointment for research and study. Making the Kabinett, or parts of it, accessible to the public is one of various future scenarios.
Deyan Sudjic: Laboratory and Cabinet of Curiosities. The archive of Herzog & de Meuron in Basel.
In: werk, bauen + wohnen. Zurich, Verlag Werk AG, Zurich, 4.2015, pp. 22-32.
Gerhard Mack: "Man muss dem Ort, an dem man lebt, Sorge tragen". In: Felix E. Müller (Ed.). Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag. Zurich , Neue Zürcher Zeitung AG, 14.06.2015. pp. 66-67
Bice Curiger, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron: “Bewusstes Wahrnehmen ist angesagt."
In: Eric Guyer (Ed.). Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 18.04.2020. pp. 44-46.
Exposure Time. Photographs from the Collection Ruth and Peter Herzog.
Edited by: Olga Osadtschy, Paul Mellenthin. Basel: Christoph Merian, 2020. Publication on the occasion of the exhibition: The Incredible World of Photography. Ruth and Peter Herzog Collection. Kunstmuseum Basel, 18 July–4 October 2020