Lime plaster, lime milk
12.85 x 22.85 m
Across the north side of the southwest atrium, covering an area of 23 by 13 metres, there is a subtle line drawing scratched into the plaster. When looking closely, it is possible to spot the shape of the frame of the window above the stairs leading down from the old building to the passage for Swiss Re Next.
- Zurich, Swiss Re Next
© 2014 Kerstin Brätsch
Image copyright: Stefan Altenburger
Standing alone like this, it becomes a kind of mask, an abstract face. "My contribution as a whole," says Brätsch, "should feel as if the glass window from the old building had been set free in the atrium." This sgraffito also is a good example of superimposed skills and styles, of working with a craftsperson "as an extension of her hand", as Brätsch puts it: "For the frame of the window in the old building, I made a drawing by hand. Of course, the frame had to be structurally checked before being cast in aluminium. And the CAD drawing with all the necessary modifications served as a template for the sgraffito."
The drawing then was projected onto the wall, where the restorer Ivano Rampa from the mountain area of Grisons where sgraffito is widely used on the walls of townships and farm houses traced it. "You can feel his hand", Brätsch says: "He has a very distinctive stroke." As this ancient technique works with wet plaster, it requires working fast. The enormous surface was sectioned off for manageable daily scratch-actions and those sections illustrating the process are still visible. This collaboration allowed her to use the sgraffito technique for the first time.