From interview to installation: With Nicole Zäch in Geneva

Skipping school has never been so nice: For 2 weeks I am in Geneva to take part in a mosaic installation. The great thing is: It’s not just any project, but the project I have presented to you two years ago in an interview with Nicole Zäch.

When it is finished the mosaic will cover the walls of a huge staircase that connects 4 floors of a bright villa. Nearly 150 square meters of iridescent, matte and transparent pieces of glass with names like Ginger, Apple, Pear and Avocado will be installed by us here in Geneva.

I am so proud to be a part of this project. Because even if I haven’t glued a single piece in the studio, yet I have seen the preparation, when I visited Nicole in 2013 in Berlin. At that moment I would never have thought that one day I would be balancing myself on a scaffold, working side by side with her to bring this mosaic on the wall.

Already during the interview, I was fascinated by the project. Not only because of the dimensions, but also because it shows how beautiful mosaics and architecture can play together: Through open architecture, lots of glass and the smart use of color and material, inside and outside merge. When you stand in the entrance, I can already imagine, one will still feel to be surrounded by nature. A bit as if as you are located in the woods in front of a tree house, and the spiral staircase that will be installed later, brings you up to the crown to an increasingly lighter foliage.

Working on site is physically demanding, no doubt about that. Check and sort all the parts, apply glue, remove paper, wash off the glue, clean the joints – after 10 hours days I fall into my bed in the evening happy but totally exhausted. I can now understand very well why Nicole likes to lay her mosaics herself: It is something completely different to see the mosaic growing at the location for which it was intended. To go ahead in the team and see the results of the work at the end of the day. To see how light is reflected by the glass tesserae at different times of day and under diverse weather conditions. To see the faces of architect and client when they come to the site to check the state of work.

It will probably take four weeks until everything is installed and grouted. In two weeks I learn things that no lesson at school could ever teach me: For example, that measures of walls planned on paper  rarely have the same dimensions in real life. And that you must improvise here quickly and cleanly. That it is not so easy to work in peace, while a wall above you is being plastered, burning bitumen rises to your nose and three radio stations are simultaneously playing. That it is indeed a bargain when boxes with mosaic mats are packed with a good system and all parts are labeled like they should.

Even though I won’t see the mosaic completed: We will still arrive at the final height of 14 meters during the time I am here, since we first go upwards with the installation on the narrowest side of the staircase. From there you can see Lake Geneva. And the snow capped mountains around it.

Want to know more? Here you find the video interview with Nicole Zäch from 2013 in which you can learn more about the artist and her project.

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