How Hublot has been activating its artistic network for ten years
Is art disruptive? The brand Hublot kicked-off the debate and invited its artistic community to celebrate ten years of collaborations entitled Hublot Loves Art, in Miami.
By Cristina D’Agostino10 février 2022
Art is known to be a catalyst for change. Showcasing new trends, capable of both provoking and federating, art is the best ally for industries whose day-to-day business is dictated by newness, as well as desirability An ideal partner, the luxury industry is the sector which has signed most collaborations. Fashion, leatherworking, hospitality, jewelry, cosmetics and of course watchmaking have positioned themselves on the artistic scene. Almost every brand has partnered with an artist at least once. Hublot initiated its relationship to art in 2012. Every year, watches embodied this relation, cocreated by artists as varied as the American Shepard Fairey from the Californian street art scene, and the Frenchman Richard Orlinski, known for his animal works or the English artist and designer Samuel Ross, who entered the Hublot Loves Art family in 2020. Recently, the great Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, inventor of the “Superflat” movement imagined a moving dial, displaying his flower-shaped character set with 384 colored stones.
Challenging watchmaking principles
What do these models created by famous artists mean? Can they change the way time is conceived? Sure, the commercial value of collections cosigned by famous artists is certain. Often executed in limited series, they represent guaranteed sales, a true added value in terms of image for the brand and great patrimonial value to the client. The Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow watch for example, produced in only a hundred pieces, is sold at 100,000 Swiss francs in boutiques.
Hublot has been working the art of fusion. It was only logical for us to collaborate with artists capable of offering a disruptive graphic vision
Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of the Hublot brand
Yet, beyond its value, which true advancement is profitable to watchmaking innovation? For the CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe, it is about challenging watchmaking principles: “The idea behind these collaborations was born from a wish to find creative and artistic influences. For many years, Hublot has been working the art of fusion. It was only logical for us to collaborate with artists capable of offering a disruptive graphic vision, a sculptural conception with shapes which come into fusion with our watches. Our collaborations with Maxime Plescia-Büchi or Richard Orlinski are two perfect examples and symbolize great commercial successes as well. Takarshi Murakami remains the one who challenged us the most. He is a very demanding artist in his vision, which he wishes to build over the longer term. He likes the idea of working on dials, and diving into the conception of the movement. He has truly challenged the mechanics and this collaboration therefore elevates the brand.”
Regarding which thoughts these collaborations raise among concerned artists, Samuel Ross explains: “It was during the Hublot Design Prize I received that I could truly encounter Hublot. I was hit by their creative approach. This brand is very eager to find the perfect balance between innovation, shape and color. At Hublot, there is a true “elasticity” of materials, capable of going way beyond what is expected. There always is this audacity regarding artistic direction. That’s what made me want to engage and be part of the project. There is a dialogue in which it is possible to find balance between art and commercialization, between expression and needs, desires and the wishes of a sophisticated consumer. We created strong dialogues about the future of watchmaking and how a luxury brand has to evolve to welcome a new generation of designers and talent.”
Building bridges between creative worlds
Art touches people on an emotional level. Thanks to art, to these initiatives, people feel more connected.
Shepard Fairey, street art artist
Indeed, everyone salutes these initiatives and this need to increase ties between art, industries, and the public. Shepard Fairey specifies: “Art touches people on an emotional level. To have the courage to share something personal with others invites audiences to do the same. Thanks to art, to these initiatives, people feel more connected. Despite noise and chaos, which alter human relations and pull people away from solidarity, art can sooth via connections and infuse ideas which can reconnect to nature and to the world.”
While the collaboration is just another word to talk about marketing, partnerships respect the artist further
Maxime Plescia-Büchi, designer, graphic designer, typographer, tattoo artist and founder of the Swiss Typefaces
Nevertheless, this discourse is not naïve. The Lausanne-based artist Maxime Plescia-Büchi, designer, graphic designer, typographer, tattoo artist and founder of the Swiss Typefaces in collaboration with Hublot since 2016, claims: “The history of collaborations between art and brands is long. The first ones started in streetwear, then progressively spread to luxury. They went from exceptional status, a bit strange, to being the norm. While the collaboration is just another word to talk about marketing, partnerships respect the artist further. If you want to collaborate, you must listen to what the other has to say. And the result must be greater than the sum of its parts, something no party could have done on their own. Hublot, in the world of luxury, definitely understood this notion.”
Support the young artistic scene
With its relationships created in the world of art, Hublot sometimes owes it to the artists themselves, often ready to share their network. But since 2015, the brand has also been building a solid community of new talents which it supports each year during the Hublot Design Prize. This distinction, with a substantial prize of 100,000 Swiss francs, enables to reveal and help young international artists to emerge, including Samuel Ross today known worldwide for his proteishaped creations and more recently Mohammed Iman Fayaz, winner of the Hublot Design Prize 2021.
To build an art school participates in this process. The important thing is to give the opportunity to the very young generation to get in touch with this sector
Carlito Fuente, CEO and heir of the Arturo Fuente brand
The last more indirect support which the Hublot brand has been defending for a few years is through foundations. The brand contributes by donating part of the revenue generated by watch sales created in collaboration with partners, mainly to the brand Arturo Fuente established in Santo Domingo, and which is planning on building a new art school. The future institution will offer its courses to 450 students on the campus which already exists and will be financed by the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, today in the hands of Carlito Fuente. Regarding the reasons which are today driving the heir of the Fuente dynasty to build this school, Carlito Fuente explains: “This region was known to be the most difficult and violent of the Dominican Republic. It was a place where we could neither enter nor get out. There were no schools, children were looking for work to be able to eat. Strikes were breaking out in mines every other week. To build this campus gave hope to the region. A social organization was born from this chaos. To build an art school participates in this process. The important thing is to give the opportunity to the very young generation to get in touch with this sector, to have passions emerge, callings and to enrich one’s thoughts.”
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