Moving the Swiss Institute
This post was published with permission from the Swiss Institute.
This past July, we helped the New York City-based Swiss Institute relocate from their space on Wooster Street to a temporary location on Franklin Street, Swiss: In situ. We sent our estimator, Ken Hill, to assess the institution’s needs and better understand the project’s scope. Ken created a plan that would allow the SI to move in an easy, safe, and expedient manner, and identified a cost-efficient art storage plan at UOVO:33 Kings HWY to best meet the SI’s needs.
We sat down with Simon Castets, the Swiss Institute’s director, to chat about the move and their upcoming programming.
This transcript has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.
UOVO: How did you feel about having to leave your space on Wooster Street? What were your biggest concerns about the move?
SC: After 5 years of forward-thinking programming and engaging public programming, we were proud of what we had accomplished at our space on Wooster Street and eager to begin our next chapter and build upon our legacy in downtown Manhattan. Despite occupying the space for a relatively short time, we had accumulated a large amount of publications and artworks, and significantly expanded our archive. No one present on the SI team had been involved in Swiss Institute’s previous moves or had experience moving art, so we were all new to the process.
Image courtesy of the Swiss Institute
UOVO: How was UOVO able to help alleviate your concerns leading up to the move?
SC: UOVO’s knowledgeable team clearly explained how the move would be structured and the steps that needed to be taken in order to prepare. As a non-profit, Swiss Institute is keen on keeping costs to a minimum. UOVO ensured that we would receive the most cost-effective plan possible all the while providing philanthropic support. We were initially worried about lacking access to certain archival materials once they had been moved, but their services ensured that we could retrieve any item at a moment’s notice from their facility in Rockland County.
Since moving was new to us all, UOVO provided the SI staff with a list and ordering instructions for packing materials suited to accommodate the entire volume of the move, and provided advice on how to organize and pack the archive so that items could quickly be retrieved from storage. During the move process itself, the UOVO team was comfortable navigating our archive and all the works were safely handled. More than 100 pieces and editions were moved seamlessly in one day.
UOVO: Please describe your interim space and what it means for the Swiss Institute.
SC: Swiss: In situ is a 5,000 square foot project space located in a pre-war building on Franklin Street in TriBeCa. It’s quite a different atmosphere from the industrial garage we occupied in SoHo: it has high ceilings and light pours in from floor-to-ceiling windows on either end of the gallery. Before our transition to a long-term location in 2017, exhibitions and public programs will be focused on temporary structures, including publishing formats, social networks, and architecture. This is an opportunity for us to expand upon the success of Swiss Institute’s ONE FOR ALL series, which offered emerging artists a first institutional exhibition in the US: Swiss: In situ will present new systems of research and production to New York audiences.