Perpetual Arts is a bridge between past, present and future. It is the meeting point between Rolex and disciplines related to architecture, music and cinema, through which it celebrates mastery and perpetuates artistic heritage. The Maison is committed to supporting some of the most talented artists through the Rolex Master and Student Initiative project, which aims to pass the knowledge from one generation to the next, contributing hard to world culture. The worlds of architecture and watchmaking intersect in the space where artistic vision and technical excellence coexist, where the strength of design reflects a passion for precision, performance and aesthetics. The luxury brand has been supporting the Venice Biennale Architettura since 2014, demonstrating the harmony between form and function and the importance of discipline in our lives. The Laboratory of the Future is the name of the 18th edition of the event, curated this year by Ghanaian academic and educator Lesley Lekko, which for the first time focuses on Africa. Participants, most of whom are of African origin, are committed to carbon neutrality while addressing the issue of decolonization and that of decarbonization, hoping for a greener and more sustainable future. “Africa is the laboratory of the future,” says the curator, who organizes the major exhibition as a true laboratory where practitioners can extrapolate models from their contemporary art practices to identify a path for the benefit of the public.
Through its intervention, Rolex encourages artistic excellence and knowledge transmission, making a durable contribution to world culture.
The Rolex Pavilion has an effective and distinctive design that allows it to be immediately recognized from the outside: the structure is reminiscent of the iconic knurled bezel visible on several watches, emphasizing the continuous and balanced coexistence of watchmaking and architecture. The link between the brand and world-renowned architects has continued for years, both in the context of its own building designs and in relation to the transmission of knowledge to the workers of tomorrow. Materials, Crafts and Artisans is the first of the three sections of which the exhibition is composed: it highlights the materials used by Rolex, giving visitors the opportunity to have a sensory experience discovering the excellent travertine marble, stucco and glass, produced near the city of Venice. Videos are presented to illustrate the work of the skilled artisans who transform the raw material into fine surfaces and objects. The second section, Rolex Melbourne – A Sustainable Future for an Art Déco Building, focuses on a renovation project of the Centenary Hall building, in Melbourne, which houses the brand’s Australian branch. The Maison demonstrates how it is possible to safeguard a historic building while improving its environmental performance: architect Peter Miglis of Woods Bagot Studio restored the building to its original splendor, expressing distinctive personality and craftsmanship know-how, without compromising the aesthetic integrity of the façade and interior.
For Rolex, sustainability is at the heart as much in the production of its watches as in the construction of its buildings, becoming a source of inspiration worldwide for its commitment to protecting the planet. Two similar projects – not exhibited at the Biennale – significantly express the brand’s concern for the environment: in Dallas, Texas, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma designed the Maison’s building by creating a series of planted terraces on each of its seven floors, developing an innovative and sophisticated design; in New York, on the other hand, Sir David Chipperfield is working on the development of a twenty-five-story tower, the headquarters of Rolex USA, composed of overlapping and jagged volumes to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of environmental certification and sustainability of energy consumption.
The exhibition illustrates Rolex’s connection with renowned architects, both in the context of its own building designs and in relation to the growth of tomorrow’s architects.
The third section, Retrospective of the Rolex Master and Student Initiativein Architecture, celebrates 20 years of the program of the same name: supporting the architects of tomorrow by pairing young artists with great masters in various disciplines for a period of mentoring and creative collaboration. The exhibition traces the history of the project, which reflects the brand’s commitment to the transmission of skills between generations, displaying the work of the pairs who have taken part over the years. The scene is dedicated in particular to six Master-Students who have succeeded in developing fruitful work based on new dimensions, insights and affinities; the participating renowned architects, including Sir David Chipperfield, Kazuyo Sejima, Alvaro Siza and Peter Zumthor, encourage young people to cultivate their talents for a more sustainable world. The latest pair, composed of Sir David Adjaye and Mariam Issoufou Kamara, are engaged in the design of a new cultural center in the capital of Niger: in a desert city, the inhabitants aspire to a place where they could relax and, at the same time, could reflect local traditions. The building meets the needs of the population, serves the community, and is made of simple, affordable and locally made materials that are also ecologically appropriate. The couple, who are of African descent, want to emphasize the importance and richness of the continent by offering the public a new kind of architecture that can reflect Africa’s identity. Rolex develops a strong link between the art of watchmaking and architecture, intensifying the balance between aesthetic and technical vision, with the gaze always turned toward care and concern for the environment.
For further information rolex.org.