The global ambitions of Art Basel – @swissinfo_en


by Michèle Laird, swissinfo.ch
Art Basel opens in Switzerland following the launch weeks earlier of its first Asian edition in Hong Kong.

An installation titled "Aztec Pattern" created by South Korean artist Osang Gwon was displayed at the Art Basel in Hong Kong

An installation titled “Aztec Pattern” created by South Korean artist Osang Gwon was displayed at the Art Basel in Hong Kong (Keystone)

With Art Basel Miami Beach now in its tenth year, swissinfo.ch looks at the brand’s expansion and how experts view the change.

When Art Basel bought out Art HK two years ago, it injected into the fledging fair the Swiss management style and expertise needed to turn it around. Greater rigour in the selection of galleries and an airy display have resulted in a high level of acclaim for this first edition, although sales were reported to be slow.

“Hong Kong is a symbol of the vitality and dynamism of Asian markets. We have followed our art clients there,” David Saillen, managing director of Axa Art in Switzerland told swissinfo.ch, in appraising the expansion.

“It’s like a springboard into different cultures and different ways of looking at art.” He was impressed by the amount of Asian art in the Swiss-run fair.

Of the 245 leading galleries from 35 countries present at Art Basel Hong Kong (compared with 300 at Art Basel in Switzerland), over half were from Asia.

This figure includes the numerous blue-chip European galleries, such as Gagosian, White Cube, Perrotin or Lehmann Maupin that have opened outposts in Asia in recent years, as well as the entire Indian continent and Australia. “We cannot overstate the importance of that market,” Saillen observed.

According to art economist Clare McAndrew, China alone accounts for 25 per cent of the global art market, up from five per cent in 2006. “It’s an economic reality,” said Saillen.

Art Basel

Art Basel is a constellation of different events under the same label. The 44th edition of Art Basel in Basel includes Art Unlimited, a platform for outsized artworks that will feature 79 artworks this year, the largest number of projects to date, Art Parcours, public artworks and performances by renowned artists and emerging talents, Art Features, curated projects or thematic exhibits, Art Basel Conversations, panel discussions with leading members of the art world, and Art Film, Art Basel’s week-long program of films by and about artists.

 

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Facebook: A Swiss Army Knife is good but a Tool Set is better – thnxz @martinvars


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While in Smartphones themselves the battle may be only between iPhone 5 vs Samsung IV, when it gets to apps people are much more picky. Facebook is losing dominance by the week to focused niche players.

Wenger Swiss Army knife, opened.
Wenger Swiss Army knife, opened. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Full article 🙂

For most people Facebook Swiss Knife approach is good, but given a choice, a tool set is better. What is Facebook to do? They are lucky enough to be seating on a cash pile and it is a public company worth over $50bn. They have to do what Google has been doing for years. Buy, buy and buy. Instagram was a good start. Buy first and figure how to monetize later, learn from Google’s acquisition of Youtube which for years was as struggle and now is a star.

Colour-match your pint with the Beertone colour chart | creativebloq.com


Pantone? Think again! Here comes Beertone – a new concept from Alexander Michelbach and Daniel Eugster which could be your new favourite palette.

We love a good idea almost as much as we like a beer here at Creative Bloq – and this latest venture from Alexander Michelbach and Daniel Eugster combines the two! Beertone is a colour palette for beer, with the first palette featuring 202 top beers from across the world.

How does it work?

Watch this! Enjoy the colour of your beer:

Both Alexander and Daniel come from Advertising Agency backgrounds. They wanted to create something that combined their love for colour and beer, as well as being fun for the user.

Each card will feature the following information: Leer más “Colour-match your pint with the Beertone colour chart | creativebloq.com”

Victorinox, un ejemplo de supervivencia

Las restricciones que impusieron las aerolíneas luego del ataque a las torres gemelas le asestaron un golpe de muerte. Pero la empresa superó el mal momento con originalidad y sin echar a uno solo de sus empleados.

Fundada en 1884 en Ibach, un pequeño pueblo en el cantón alemán de Suiza, Victorinox es una marca famosa en todo el mundo por su producto principal – la navaja multiuso. Surgió de la mano de Karl Elsener como respuesta a las difíciles condiciones económicas de los años 1880 que estaban obligando a emigrar a tantos suizos. Elsener se propuso generar empleo de largo plazo a sus compatriotas. Ese objetivo fue y sigue siendo el alma de la cultura de la empresa.


Victorinox logo.
Image via Wikipedia

Las restricciones que impusieron las aerolíneas luego del ataque a las torres gemelas le asestaron un golpe de muerte. Pero la empresa superó el mal momento con originalidad y sin echar a uno solo de sus empleados.

Fundada en 1884 en Ibach, un pequeño pueblo en el cantón alemán de Suiza, Victorinox es una marca famosa en todo el mundo por su producto principal – la navaja multiuso. Surgió de la mano de Karl Elsener como respuesta a las difíciles condiciones económicas de los años 1880 que estaban obligando a emigrar a tantos suizos. Elsener se propuso generar empleo de largo plazo a sus compatriotas. Ese objetivo fue y sigue siendo el alma de la cultura de la empresa. Leer más “Victorinox, un ejemplo de supervivencia”

Innovation is only one piece of the puzzle

So the Swiss are better than us. Well, goody for them. But the question for investors is whether the Swiss knack for innovation translates into remarkable stock market gains.

It should. After all, innovation gives companies an edge over their competitors, and that should lead to solid market share and fat profit margins. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Victorinox AG is a closely held company, meaning that you can’t invest in it through the stock market or track its interest among investors. But you can track the Swiss Market Index, which represents the country’s 20 largest stocks: Its performance has been lagging Canada’s benchmark index by a substantial margin.

Over the past one-year, three-year and five-year periods, the S&P/TSX composite index has consistently outperformed the Swiss index. Over the past decade, the Canadian index has risen a total 49 per cent after factoring in dividends, while the Swiss index has risen a mere 1 per cent.

Why? This isn’t a strike against innovation, but rather an indication that there might be bigger factors at work when it comes to driving stock prices – like, uh, luck and commodities.

For example, Swiss financial firms were dealt severe setbacks during the financial crisis, which translated into massive writedowns and quarterly losses. UBS AG shares remain 76-per-cent below their pre-crisis highs, and Julius Baer Group Ltd. shares are still down 52 per cent.

By comparison, Canadian banks largely escaped the carnage. The worst hit, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, is down a relatively mild 28 per cent from its pre-crisis high, while Toronto-Dominion Bank is down all of 2 per cent.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to duck the fact that higher prices for crude oil, gold and fertilizer have helped drive triple-digit gains for Canada’s energy and materials sectors, which together represent nearly half of the composite index in terms of their weighting.


David Berman
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/markets/markets-blog/innovation-is-only-one-piece-of-the-puzzle/article1750632/

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
So the Swiss are better than us. Well, goody for them. But the question for investors is whether the Swiss knack for innovation translates into remarkable stock market gains.

It should. After all, innovation gives companies an edge over their competitors, and that should lead to solid market share and fat profit margins. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Victorinox AG is a closely held company, meaning that you can’t invest in it through the stock market or track its interest among investors. But you can track the Swiss Market Index, which represents the country’s 20 largest stocks: Its performance has been lagging Canada’s benchmark index by a substantial margin.

Over the past one-year, three-year and five-year periods, the S&P/TSX composite index has consistently outperformed the Swiss index. Over the past decade, the Canadian index has risen a total 49 per cent after factoring in dividends, while the Swiss index has risen a mere 1 per cent.

Why? This isn’t a strike against innovation, but rather an indication that there might be bigger factors at work when it comes to driving stock prices – like, uh, luck and commodities.

For example, Swiss financial firms were dealt severe setbacks during the financial crisis, which translated into massive writedowns and quarterly losses. UBS AG shares remain 76-per-cent below their pre-crisis highs, and Julius Baer Group Ltd. shares are still down 52 per cent.

By comparison, Canadian banks largely escaped the carnage. The worst hit, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, is down a relatively mild 28 per cent from its pre-crisis high, while Toronto-Dominion Bank is down all of 2 per cent.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to duck the fact that higher prices for crude oil, gold and fertilizer have helped drive triple-digit gains for Canada’s energy and materials sectors, which together represent nearly half of the composite index in terms of their weighting. Leer más “Innovation is only one piece of the puzzle”

Switzerland blazes innovation trail

A nearby flight instrument company, Flytec, approached Victorinox with a suggestion for a gadget geared to mountain climbers. Flytec now supplies the knife maker with electronics for an altimeter, barometer, thermometer and clock.

The company has made mistakes – a tool for in-line skaters that came with a separate pouch for different-sized keys wasn’t a success – but Victorinox continues to tinker and add new features to its products. Mr. Elsener’s top goal is to boost the appeal of Swiss Army knives among women, who tend to buy them more for the men in their lives.

In the global scheme of things, Victorinox is a small company. But like other Swiss firms – from online scheduler Doodle to Thermoplan, which supplies coffee machines to Starbucks – it has found its niche. And that’s reason to believe Switzerland’s economy may keep on thriving.

“I strongly believe in the future of Switzerland because of globalization, because open economies can play advantages in innovation even better than protected economies,” Mr. Gassman said. True, it costs more to make stuff there, but that “can be overcompensated by productivity – and even more innovative products and design.”


Victorinox logo.

TAVIA GRANT
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/growth/switzerland-blazes-innovation-trail/article1750626/

IBACH, SWITZERLAND— From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

In a tiny town in central Switzerland surrounded by velvety green mountains and punctuated with whiffs of cow dung, a 126-year-old factory churns out 60,000 Swiss Army knives and other pocket tools each day for a hungry global market.

All the folding blades at Victorinox AG are still made in Ibach, population 3,500. The company is run by the founding Elsener family, now in its fourth generation. Its brand has, over the years, become synonymous with Switzerland itself: quality, precision, reliability.

Yet Victorinox is anything but static. Back in 1891, its main product was a heavy, wood-handled knife built for the Swiss army. Now, its knives come equipped with laser pointers and USB drives with biometric sensors. The factory has been upgraded to the latest high-tech gadgetry (machines that look like fingers do the finicky job of assembling the knives), leaving workers free to develop new tools. Sales are roughly $200-million a year, 90 per cent of its products are exported, and it is expanding into new markets such as Brazil, Argentina and China. All this, and employees still get 1½-hour lunch breaks.

Carl Elsener Jr., Victorinox’s approachable chief executive officer, proudly proclaims that his company has never outsourced production or axed jobs due to recession – in fact, it has a history of boosting investment, not cutting it, during economic downturns. He credits its endurance to innovation, which is helping Victorinox face its biggest challenge yet: competition from cheap Asian counterfeits.

“Innovation is in our blood here in Switzerland – since the beginning, we’ve always tried to make things better,” Mr. Elsener said in an interview at his company’s headquarters. “Maybe it’s because we were forced early to be global and to think about exports.”

Innovation seems to seep from Swiss pores. The Alpine nation of 8 million people was named the world’s most competitive economy in a recent ranking by the World Economic Forum, and regularly leads the world when it comes to innovation. The Swiss hold the most patents per capita in Europe – Albert Einstein once worked in the Bern patent office – and the country is a hub for global giants such as Swatch, UBS and Nestlé.

Canada, meanwhile, is still struggling to shed its hewer-of-wood image. The Conference Board of Canada slapped the country with yet another “D” in innovation this year, and it slid to 10th place in the WEC rankings. For Canada to thrive in a global, knowledge-based economy, it must focus on turning good ideas, of which we have plenty, into marketable products, which we’re not so good at. Switzerland offers plenty of lessons on how to do it.

“It’s about desire,” said Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management. “European countries are more practised in how to compete in sophisticated ways. They can’t chop down trees, dig out rocks, or fish. So they’ve been at it longer to upgrade their products.”

It’s tough to imagine it now, but in the late 1800s, as Victorinox founder Karl Elsener was training as a master cutler, Switzerland was one of the poorest nations in Europe. Its economy was largely based on agriculture, and robbers ruled the roads. It had no coal, steel or iron – no natural resources at all, in fact – and for a time, the industrial revolution bypassed the tiny mountain nation.

Out of necessity, much like Japan, it developed a knack for importing goods and putting them together in smarter ways, or copying other people’s products and making them better.

Over the years, said Oliver Gassmann, chair of innovation management at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland developed a unique innovation policy.

“It’s bottom-up, science-based and market-oriented,” he said.

Education is key to the country’s position as an innovation hub. Its school system produces world-class scientists who are focused on the pragmatic implementation of new ideas, Mr. Gassmann said. And Swiss universities and technical schools collaborate with multiple partners, including businesses, to bring ideas to market. Leer más “Switzerland blazes innovation trail”

Hijo de Puta! Spain Goes for Google on the Privacy Front

Spain is the latest country to become grand inquisitor of Google–and again, it’s the privacy issue that’s rearing its ugly head. Back in June, Apedanica, a private Internet watchdog and tech consultancy filed a complaint that the firm was violating people’s privacy while compiling data for its Street View service.


BY Addy Dugdale

Spain is the latest country to become grand inquisitor of Google–and again, it’s the privacy issue that’s rearing its ugly head. Back in June, Apedanica, a private Internet watchdog and tech consultancy filed a complaint that the firm was violating people’s privacy while compiling data for its Street View service. Leer más “Hijo de Puta! Spain Goes for Google on the Privacy Front”