The Swatch Eye

Swatch & Vogue Italia

Facing Time

14 July 2014
Swatch and Vogue Italia face time together and look towards the future of design.

What happens when two of the world’s creative visionaries team up to celebrate their landmark birthdays ? Instead of throwing a party, Swatch and VOGUE Italia held a striking celebration of new visionary design and unbridled creative spirit called Facing Time.
The project, which was launched last October, combined the values and aesthetics of both Swatch and VOGUE Italia : Swatch, who revolutionised the watch concept thirty years ago, turning it into a new and unexpected channel for creative statements ; and VOGUE Italia, under the guidance of Franca Sozzani, at the forefront of fashion and contemporary arts.
Facing Time invited participants from around the world to use a new or vintage Swatch to tell a story or say something about themselves through an image or a video on the theme of Time & Style. Anyone could apply and there were no rules or restrictions, but entrants were encouraged to explore the furthest corners of their imaginations and unlock their creative potential as much as possible.
“We wanted to give space to unknown and young talent, which is another aspect of the philosophies of both Swatch and VOGUE Italia,” says Carlo Giordanetti, Creative Director at Swatch. “But we weren’t looking for anything specific. The great thing about this project is that we entered into it with no expectations. There was no agenda ; we wanted to see what emerged from the hands of the talented participants who were inspired by our two worlds.”
The results were sweeter than any slice of birthday cake. Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek and Sozzani, VOGUE Italia’s Editor-in-Chief, handpicked the 20 finalists out of over 400 entrants, all of them virtual unknowns. The finalists’ works will form part of a travelling interactive exhibition, which will pull up to some of the world’s most exclusive fashion events, such as VOGUE Italia’s fiftieth anniversary in Milan in September 2014.
The selection is notable not only for its display of new visual creativity but also for its variation.
“We went into the judging process as if we were going into an exhibition, where you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to see,” says Giordanetti. “We tried to stay neutral and stress the concept behind the entries rather than how well they were executed. That’s why, in the final selection, there is quite a diverse range of works. And it’s also why it was so hard to pick the winners — they were all good for different reasons.”
Entries included Steven Tai’s fresh pastel still life displaying a 2013 “White Character” Swatch over a diced melon, and Cristina Stendardo’s collage-like image of a 1992 “Lots of Dots” Swatch nestling among the pink marbles, plastic hairpins and trinkets of her childhood. Another is an illustration by Ivo Bisignano of a 1992 “Glance” Swatch, which was given to the artist by his father. “That was very charming, and very much what Swatch is all about,” says Giordanetti.
“It was really interesting to see what sort of Swatches people chose,” continues Giordanetti. “There were some really historical styles in there that I had almost forgotten about. But at the same time there was a good balance between them and newer models. The project also showed that people connect emotionally with watches that are more colourful and extroverted. It certainly pushed me to make sure that Swatch still has stories to tell in the future.”
The full list of winners is : Arthur Arbesser, Marco Architetto, Ivo Bisignano, Serena Castrignano, Marco Chiurato, Elisa Donato, Igor Drozdowski, Chantal Formizzi, Laura Fu, Tommaso Lipari, Anna Loffredi, Marco Masiero, Martino Pannofino, Francesca Sacchi, Kiril Stanoev, Cristina Stendardo, Steven Tai, Mauro Triolo, Danilo Ursini and Michal Zagorski. •

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