Innovation und Comfort
Our contemporary times are – for virtually the first time in history – defined by two antagonistic forces rarely in accord: innovation and comfort. In fact, they can work powerfully against one another, illustrating an often minimized conflict in our times and in our society, particularly in the Swiss context.
Innovation is heavily reliant on technology, and as a consequence is dependent on the belief that we will always be able to subliminally control it. In contrast, the term comfort is perceived as standard, representing the status quo, and as such can embody a fictitious sense of convenience and achievement.
The prerequisites for and the forms of innovation often erode the perception of the familiar, and its associated norms. As a result, efficiency and effectiveness represent two of the key characteristics of innovation in the Swiss conception of sustainability, along with sufficiency, which is perhaps the least popular criterion. Foregoing all but the most necessary remains infused with ethical, moralizing overtones, if the resources currently at our disposal should be available in the future. However, radical simplification could also mean allowing the possibility of a lasting, participatory impact to arise. Such a process could make accountability visible and liberate us from the tutelage of technology.
Addressing this antagonism directly and openly was the impetus behind planning the Ernst Basler AG headquarters. From the onset old and new formed an ambiguity, continually lurking beneath the surface and not to be trusted. The familiar threatened either to disappear without warning, or to endure with fierce resistance.
Thus the conceptual manipulation of new and old remained tied to the question of a constant negotiation. The result is effectively a hybrid, a composite, that gradually began to dissolve this antagonism. An experience new to us. A relationship was born of resistance and dichotomy; an element of the system was always present, ensuring that everything remained interdependent. - Piet Eckert