Dornbirn, Austria – The Zumtobel Group’s 2016/17 Annual Report entitled “The Little Detective: Search For The Book” is the brainchild of Yung Ho Chang, a Chinese architect and Professor at MIT, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ongoing dialogue and close collaboration with architects, artists and designers has long been a firm part of the Zumtobel Group’s corporate culture. The Group’s annual reports reflect this fact in unconventional fashion: For the past 26 years, no less, these key publications have been designed by leading figures from the fields of architecture, graphic design and the fine arts.
“The Zumtobel Group annual report presents the Group’s brands in a neutral but outstanding way, embedded in a fascinating interpretation of the subject of light. Every year we are astounded at how the creative director, an artist, architect or designer, approaches the topic of light. In this edition, Chinese star architect Yung Ho Chang has managed to create a very personal art book with hand-drawn illustrations that document the transformation of space by light and shade,” says Karin Zumtobel, Head of Arts & Culture, Zumtobel Group.
A study of light in architectural spaces
Chang’s personal and creative interpretation of the transformation of architectural space through light and shade comprises drawings, oil paintings and photographic studies that he produced between 1998 and 2016. On the trail of a lost book, time and again the Little Detective encounters the opposing forces of light and darkness and explores the impact of colour, porosity, texture and shade On his journey through this corporate publication, the Little Detective learns how light creates space and form.
The interplay of light and shade
Light has the ability to transform spaces. For the current edition of the Zumtobel Group annual report, Chang engaged in a critical analysis of the interplay between light and dark zones in architectural spaces. The framework for this was provided by “The Little Detective”, a story from Chang’s childhood that his father, also an architect, would often tell his children. This had a lasting impact on Yung Ho Chang’s taste in literature, which is marked by a love of detective stories. “Over recent years I have tried time and again to reinvent the Little Detective,” says Chang. “At the same time I am totally fascinated by pictorial space and one-point perspective. And in this book I have clearly combined the two.”
The outcome in the shape of the current annual report is a very personal book that at once impresses through its high quality materials and exceptional texture and haptics. The content is built around Chang’s drawings and photographs of his impressive buildings. These help to tell the story of the Little Detective, who sets out to find a book and along the way learns a great deal about the relationship between light and space.
About the artist – Yung Ho Chang
Together with Lijia Lu, Yung Ho Chang heads up the independent architectural practice Atelier Feichang Jianzhu (FCJZ) based in Beijing and Shanghai and is widely considered a pioneer of contemporary Chinese architecture. Chang has also taught at several universities of architecture and currently holds chairs at Tongji University, Beijing University and MIT. His architectural projects display great intellectual quality and mediate between traditional and modern.
Unique annuals – the Zumtobel Group’s art book series
It was 26 years ago that the Russian architect and designer Mikhail Anikst designed the Zumtobel Group’s first artistic annual report for the 1991/92 financial year. The project was initiated by Jürg Zumtobel, CEO at the time and today Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Zumtobel Group AG. The idea behind this series of art books remains unchanged to this day: to document the close links between the Group and the arts and culture, and at the same time create a design language that goes beyond the corporate design guidelines of the individual brands. Thus, over the years, a wide range of leading figures from the Group’s network of contacts have been invited to design the annual report in line with their wishes and in the context of light and the Zumtobel Group’s business. Along with graphic designers from the early years of these art books, including Italo Lupi, Neville Brody, Per Arnoldi and Stefan Sagmeister, the report’s creative directors have also included artists such as Gerhard Merz, Siegrun Appelt, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor and James Turrell, and architects such as Dominique Perrault, Hani Rashid / Asymptote, François Roche / Studio R&Sie(n), Sejima Kazuyo and Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA, David Chipperfield / DCA and Kjetil Thorsen / Snøhetta.
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