Instant Space

A platform for conversation, Instant Space is a response to the swissnex Salon created by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport.

Image by Atlas

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


October 05, 2018 8:00 am - December 09, 2018 5:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



A platform for conversation, Instant Space is a series of curtains designed by Zurich-based architects Nele Dechmann and Ortreport to host discussions, workshops, and interrogations. The curtains embody a maxim of flexibility and fluidity.

The installation is an artistic response to the swissnex Salon, serving as a setting for different forms of interaction and exchange within the swissnex Gallery. The space creates a variety of atmospheric environments, from generous and open to intimate and immersive.

The images printed on the curtains present a juxtaposition of liminal environments: “in-between” spaces where political and social rules are typically suspended. The five prints have an unexpected element adding to the environment, which opens up a field of narratives and interpretations.

Instant Spaceexists alongside five keywords formed by Swiss designers Atlas through recombining fragments of foundational terms that raise questions and spark discussions. 

Instant Space


On the Internet, you are alone with a million others. The world is online, invisible, anonymous. Everyone can interrogate and be interrogated. Will you be a troll? A journalist? Will you post? Will you watch? Will you be watched? Our relationship with technology is flat, we monitor and we are being monitored. What will you say, and who will hear you say it?  


At the karaoke booth, punk meets disco, ‘60s folk singers are followed by hip-hop. Here, the hierarchies of taste and class are put aside, along with the rules of social behavior. Sing your feelings as loud as you can, with your boss watching. It’s OK: it’s karaoke.


Borders are constructed boundaries. What happens as we stand upon the edge, not quite in one place or the other? How is it the same? Who can cross? Who is forbidden? Carpets from continents and cultures invite us to wander, form new alliances, and exchange beyond the passport.


On the lunar surface, even gravity is transformed. No one owns the moon. It invites us to dream of a world without weight and without owners. What would we build there, and how might we build it?


The speakeasy is a paradox, a forbidden place where all ideas are free. A place to tell secrets, discuss controversies, drink illicit elixirs, or cuddle on the floor. Leave behind the anxiety of being caught: this is a hideout, where the natural and the constructed fuse into a spirit of comfort.

A New Vocabulary?

Five keywords formed by Swiss designers Atlas are displayed on the wall and in a special poster created for the swissnex Salon. These new words are generated from the Salon’s five core values, taken from the Preamble of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation. By recombining fragments of these foundational terms, provocative words are created, raising questions and sparking discussions.

Is big tech playing with basic values in the name of innovation? Are these rearranged values a symptom of Silicon Valley’s “disruption” — a sign of diminished freedoms at the hand of technology giants? Or are these values somehow strengthened through combination, leading to new approaches to their own preservation? We encourage visitors to invent new meanings — perhaps frightening, perhaps empowering — and explore their possible consequences.    


Atlas Studio

Atlas is a graphic design studio founded in 2011 by Martin Andereggen, Claudio Gasser and Jonas Wandeler. We believe in a collaborative approach to design and have been working for clients in both the commercial and cultural fields. Our studio develops concepts and designs for printed and digital matter of all kinds, including visual identities, publications, posters and websites. Alongside a regular studio practice, the members of Atlas Studio teach at the art universities of Zurich (ZHdK) and Lausanne (ECAL), give workshops as well as lectures and pursue self-initiated projects on a regular basis. The work of Atlas Studio was awarded the Swiss Design Award (2014), The Most Beautiful Swiss Books for Learning from Warsaw (2013), The Best Dutch Book Designs as well as The Most Beautiful Swiss Books for Part One (2010).
Nele Dechmann

Nele Dechmann lives and works in Zurich. As a practicing architect she makes tailor-made solutions, whilst combining different logical systems into a new entity. In Berlin she co-planned a contemporary City Library with archaic solid brick-walls. A school in rural Madagascar was made by communicating with the local workers through axonometric projections not unlike instructions for model airplanes. In Zurich she built a hotel in a heritage building, which had to remain untouched outside and completely changed inside. As a researcher, she looks at different architectural typologies and how they were formed. Her dissertation analyses an international network that founded the "Costa Smeralda" in an undeveloped region in Sardinia from scratch. Her architecture and her publications were being published and awarded internationally.

Ortreport is a collective founded by Katrin Murbach (1984, Zurich Switzerland) and Fabian Jaggi (1982, Gstaad Switzerland). They are specialised in site-specific research, interventions and happenings in different environments. Together with the local community and lateral thinkers they find and touch the nerve of spatial situations. They collaborate with theaters and public institutions constructing temporary spaces in public sites. They co-designed the nomadic "House of Switzerland" which travelled throughout Europe. One of the recent projects took them to Johannesburg, where they investigated the modernist skyscrapers of the African metropolis. They are teaching at F+F school for Art and Design and Zurich University of the Arts.

Related events

swissnex Salon
Oct 5 – Dec 8, 2018

Event Photos