For the factory and storage facility they built for herbal lozenge producer Ricola, Herzog & de Meuron reimagined a building’s façade as a surface across which images can circulate and communicate. The building’s location on a wooded plot, and the herbal ingredients of the lozenges made there, led the architects to the turn-of-the-century German photographer Karl Blossfeldt, who was known for his photographs of plants.
They silkscreened [his image] of a greatly magnified yarrow leaf onto individual polycarbonate panels. Fitted together in stacked rows, the panels form the two long walls of the rectangular building, creating screens of repeating leaves that filter in sunlight and glow softly from its lights at night. Blossfeldt’s precise framing, and his use of a magnifying camera, gave all of the plants he captured a sculptural dimensionality; multiplied across the building’s façade, his leaf resembles an architectural relief.
Additional text from What Is Contemporary Art? online course, Coursera, 2019