Love at frost sight: Hublot collaborates with artist Daniel Arsham to make a 20-metre sundial in the snowLuke Benedictus
When it comes to their ambassadors, Hublot is known for their stable of sporting superstars that have included Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic and Diego Maradona. But over the last decade, the brand have also consistently aligned themselves with modern artists, making watches with the likes of Richard Orlinski, Shepard Fairey, Maxime Plescia-Buchi, Takashi Murakami and more. What’s refreshing about these hook-ups is that Hublot seem willing to give these artists an unusual amount of autonomy over the collaborations. Effectively, Hublot allow the artist to play watchmaker and this trust has been repaid with some of the brand’s most wildly innovative watch designs – no mean feat given that Hublot is already one of the most open-minded brands when it comes to their use of colour and materials. Now Hublot is continuing its patronage of the arts with a new ambassador, American artist Daniel Arsham, whose work has spanned a range of creative disciplines including sculpture, painting and design.
Arsham was a particularly intriguing pick because he has frequently meditated on the concept of time and mortality throughout his work, notably with his Connecting Time series and his celebrated Hourglass exhibition.
To launch the new collaboration and celebrate the links between watchmaking, art and craft, Arsham will unveil a temporary 20-metre sundial in the snowscape of the Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt, in the shadows of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. The ephemeral installation, entitled Light & Time, uses natural elements to merge the roots of timekeeping with the craftsmanship of sculptural art.
The functioning outdoor timekeeping installation is based on the shadows cast by the quartz crystal-shaped obelisk. As the sun moves throughout the day, the shadow cast by the central pointer indicates the time in the raked snow. Arsham has blended form and function, creating the sundial out of the natural elements found in the Swiss Alps.
The sundial will echo Hublot’s design language, integrating familiar cues such as the famous screws that hold the Big Bang’s bezel in place. The installation will also come with a twist that requires a degree of commitment from art lovers: it will only be visible from the top of the mountain, so to view it, you’ll have to use Zermatt’s ski lifts.
As a launch vehicle for the partnership with Hublot, it certainly makes for an eye-catching reveal. After all, if this is just the initial promo stunt, we can surely expect further surprises when the watches eventually arrive.