OLMA special exhibition

Canton Graubünden

Canton Graubünden

Mountains or lakes? Meadows or summits? High-tech or tradition? In Graubünden, these are not either-or questions. The canton of Graubünden, in all its diverse and inspiring splendor, is being showcased at OLMA 2022 in St. Gallen starting from October 13. As is the case every year, the largest public exhibition in Switzerland - expecting around 350,000 visitors - provides a special platform for a selected canton to present a special exhibition for eleven days. For the first time since 2003, Graubünden has the opportunity to occupy the 950-square-meter exhibition space with the stories that narrate the nature, culture, history, work, and life of the canton. But how do you encapsulate more than 7,000 square kilometers of alpine land, rivers, valleys, three languages, and the multicultural present of its nearly 201,400 residents within a trade fair hall?In response to this question, the design by Daniel Huber Architecture + Design from Landquart, in collaboration with content from Project Coach Martin Renner, translates the open theme "aifach gspunna" in a thoroughly Grison manner: The canton welcomes its guests on a village square, the center of which belongs to a fountain specially designed for the special exhibition. The six-meter-long, narrow watercourse is fed by two precisely choreographed, arched jets in the stone window at the front. While the long fountain wall is made of larch wood, the window uses light-colored natural stone from Graubünden's sources: Andeer granite, Valser quartzite, and gneiss from the Calancatal. A delightful detail for a closer look: the horns of the ibex from the Graubünden canton logo can be recognized in the two water jets. Just like in real life, the village square belongs to the people. The coming and going, as well as lingering, is framed by architecturally intertwined cubes, reminiscent of the tight house structure of Grison village centers. These cubes are filled with the stories and homes of the people, portraying the life of a typical Grison mountain village, sometimes openly in the field, sometimes nestled into a mountainside.In three themed pavilions, Graubünden can be experienced from entirely different perspectives. While Pavilion 1 is dedicated to the canton's magnificent nature and landscape, Pavilion 2, located right next to it, introduces research and educational institutions based in Graubünden, which are not only good neighbors at OLMA but also in the many agricultural and artisan businesses that present themselves in the rear area with a small workshop showcase. Pavilion 3 is reserved for a virtual dialogue among prominent Grisons personalities. There, the writer Arno Camenisch, the actress Tonia Maria Zindel, Swiss television ski expert Marc Berthold, and musician Marie Louise Werth engage in an elaborately produced 3D production conversation, discussing matters of life, the world, and Graubünden.

"With heart and depth, the essence of Graubünden was showcased in all its diversity and beauty, brimming with emotions, personal messages, and encounters. The undiscovered gems and diverse cultures from the canton of 150 valleys captivated the visitors. Personal encounters, impactful messages, and powerful images delivered an unforgettable Graubünden performance."
Martin Candinas, President of the National Council

"Fresh, bold, and heartfelt - just as one knows and loves the canton of Graubünden. With its diverse themes, successful balance between tradition and contemporary spirit, and the courageous yet humorous execution, the guest canton of Graubünden has equally thrilled the visitors and the organizers of OLMA. The project team accomplished a performance that was a genuine enrichment for the 79th Swiss Fair for Agriculture and Nutrition. The collaboration was extremely pleasant and professional. Looking forward to it again."
Christine Bolt, Director of OLMA Fairs St. Gallen

Location: St. Gallen Client: Canton of Graubünden Completed: 2022 Architectural Services: Concept, Interior Design, Execution Planning & Realization Award: Xaver Award