Carlo Giordanetti: Art Ennobles the Watch

At the 59th edition of the Venice Art Biennale, Carlo Giordanetti, CEO of Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, presents the "Faces 2022" exhibition and offers us his vision of the relationship between art and business

  • Carlo Giordanetti

    Carlo Giordanetti

In Venice for the latest "Swatch Faces 2022" project, which consolidates the main partnership between Swatch and the Art Biennale, for many years Carlo Giordanetti has held an active role as Swatch's head of product development and design to ensure a unified and global identity. Ever synonymous with innovation and change, he oversees all projects related to the world of art as Ceo of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, one of the brand’s key elements. We met him to understand the relationship between art and business and their point of encounter. «Swatch has always favored relationships with artists, not so much with art for art’s sake. And this has always differentiated us from other luxury companies, which have wonderful foundations and corporate collections, because we started off as a manufacturing company, as a factory. What distinguishes us more than anything else is the fact that Swatch does not like to repeat itself. We always want to give a different slant and angle to what we do. This vision was achieved first and foremost with the Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, launched as a tangible gesture which did not require nor need to have a financial return. A project conceived and designed as an investment in culture, with the aim of providing artists from various disciplines and from every corner of the world with a physical space. No artist has any responsibility towards the brand; his or her work is, and remains, independent. It sometimes happens that one of them has a particular affinity with the brand, especially among those who work with new technologies or with issues related to sustainability. In this case, if they bring a different outlook, something innovative, even in the way of experiencing the art and science blend, beautiful synergies can arise. Ten years ago, for example, we carried out a project thanks to a Spanish artist who was in residence and was already talking about computer art. In those days, it was still difficult to understand, but his language was very similar to Swatch's, so much so that a purely aesthetic project led to a collaboration that resulted in the production of the first augmented reality watch. If I had to say why Swatch is important today, it would certainly be for the way it thinks, not for its history. In general, the watch in itself has now taken on another kind of value and the reason people choose us is because they can relate to this desire for transgression. Another very strong element is extreme individualism, of which Swatch is an interpreter. No two are exactly alike so, what happens in our world is exactly the opposite of what happens in fashion. Our revolutionary way of working with art is also reflected in our collaborations with museums, from Moma, which has provided us with works by great artists, to the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. However, I am missing a collaboration with an Italian museum. A watch with the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche in the Vatican Museums would be a real dream.»

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