Verbier, the Swiss mountain village famed for its winter skiing and a holiday playground for the rich and famous. The thing about skiing though is that, apart from being among the quickest way to break yourself, it’s really a strictly downhill enterprise. Whether it’s knee-ruining moguls, slalom skiing or off-piste madness, it all begins at the top and ends at the bottom (or in a tree). While the celebs get their pilot to whizz them back to the top in the helicopter, most skiers opt for a lift in one of the region’s famous cabines or gondolas – a small cable car for when you want to thumb your nose at Chance and take it from the top all over again.
A selection of decommissioned cabines have found their way into the mittens of a group of seven designers, artists and art collectives through the art-based charity project, Verbier Mountain Climbers. Refurbished, repurposed, abstracted and generally reborn, these gondolas – highlights include ECAL’s Baker Wardlaw turning his cabine into a vintage vending machine, and Philippe Cramer taking things all arty and minimal, looking at the only non-recyclable component (the blue transparent plexiglas windows) individually – have just been unveiled at Design Miami Basel, and are to be exhibited at Geneva Airport later in the year before going under the hammer at Christie’s. The proceeds from the auction will be donated to Switzerland’s Make-a-Wish charity for terminally ill children. Uplifting.