It’s really not long now until we move to our new premises.
To design the working environment as creatively as possible, we have teamed up with artists via the agency Orange Council. One of these is Johannes Hess. In today’s blog post, he offers us a brief insight into his work, with a particular focus on the ‘ignition spark’ project.

ignition spark ...

… is a meeting room for eight to ten people that will be found on the top floor of the new Robert Bosch Start-up GmbH premises. Developing this kind of artistic work is always a dialogical process. Not only are there the questions, requirements and situations relating to the outside world (in this case e.g. the need to develop a meeting room with a certain capacity that complies with specific fire protection classes, has at least one door and one window etc.), but there are also the inner sentiments, motives and ideas that initially have nothing to do with the outside world yet yearn to be realised in it. In my eyes, the art lies in the ability to harmoniously combine these two worlds – or in the ideal situation, to use one world to help the other express itself.

For me as a sculptor, i.e. an artist who works with a huge range of plastic phenomena, the room is perhaps what sound is to a musician.
All sculptural, plastic or installation-based work is only expressed through spatial qualities, relations and interactions. As such, the approach to the room in many ways determines my everyday work.

All sculptural, plastic or installation-based work is only expressed through
spatial qualities, relations and interactions.

Johannes Hess

However, there is one key thing that makes the work on ignition spark different:
my work is not usually accessible. When looking at a sculpture, you have to empathise with the perception of it to understand its qualities. However, you can’t normally physically enter it. Here, the situation is different. In fact, the interior of the work is its most important element. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I still approached the design of the room in the same way as I would a sculpture. The first decisive factor was therefore always the free perception of the room.

From a content perspective, the cooperation with Robert Bosch Start-up GmbH was based on several different areas. In addition to the concept of HEIMAT, there were also the notions of awakening and a leaping or ignition spark. My colleague Martin Schüßler started to intensively focus his work on the question of Heimat, while I dedicated myself to the topic of the ‘spark’ or ‘ignition spark’.

It’s like important little signs that make you notice that a little, or sometimes bigger, piece of the future can be found here or there.

Johannes Hess

Anyone who has ever set out for new shores is well aware that this involves facing a great many unknown and unfamiliar things. You have to start by finding routes to the areas to be newly accessed. And not just physically; you also have to break through habitual ways of thinking in order to establish something new. This is essentially a primordial artistic motif. This ‘sense of awakening’ tries to give expression to ignition spark by there being no vertical or horizontal surfaces or edges.

You will also search in vain for the much-trusted right angle. A unique design principle springs up from every surface and every edge. The horizontal and vertical cannot be formally recognised anywhere. As such, the individual positioning or alignment must initially be original. The sloped orientation of the walls and, in particular, surfaces that cannot be clearly labelled as walls or ceiling as they are located in an intermediate area, even provoke alignment with the user’s own, individual fixed point. The clarity with which this principle of ‘undefined space’ is implemented can only exist through an external stance. The various surfaces are combined with almost crystal clarity. The overall effect is highlighted by the room’s mirrored outer skin. Offering few points to focus on, the mirrored finish reflects the light and plays with the area around it both virtually and visually. For me, this room has therefore essentially been born from these spatial art or sculptural design principles.

The cooperation with my colleague Sebastian Keller, a freelance architect and artist, is now enabling me to actually turn my work into a piece of architecture. We’ve been working together on the project for several weeks now and some of the details of our joint work can definitely be seen in the pictures. In all events, we are both extremely excited to see the final results of the work – and especially to receive feedback from the people who will use this room within the scope of their everyday working lives.

About the author

What are you and why? Querdenker, Durchstarter, Selbstverwirklicher?

I try very hard to constantly live up to the label ‘artist’. This definitely means being a Querdenker at times. Perhaps also a Durchstarter – and most certainly also a Selbstverwirklicher. However, it is equally as important for me to be a good listener and sensitive to others, as well as to establish momentum or to expand on correlations.

Johannes Hess (sculptor and artist)

What does Heimat mean to you?

Heimat is an extremely broad term, not least in view of the many different requirements placed on us by globalisation. The word Heimat is commonly used to describe the place I come from, but I also regard it as something that can be in the future. I often encounter a sense of Heimat in places or cultures that I definitely don’t know from my time on this planet. It’s like important little signs that make you notice that a little, or sometimes bigger, piece of the future can be found here or there.