Breathe with Me | An immersive Installation 

161 Water Street at WSA New York, May 16 - 23, 2024

Enter Breathe with Me, an immersive installation contextualized by award-winning Swiss spatial designer and Parsons educator Annabelle Schneider. Presented by the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, this multi-sensorial space features iconic Swiss design pieces by USM, PIN-UP HOME, 4Spaces ZigZagZurich and many more at WSA, the new cutting-edge cultural hub in Downtown Manhattan.

Breathable textiles synchronized with immersive sound design and soft furnishings are carefully crafted to positively impact body and mind. Soft fabrics swell and sway to the rhythm of low-frequency sounds, mimicking soothing breathing patterns, creating an oasis in the bustling heart of Manhattan. An immersive lounge captures the essence of Swiss design, seamlessly blending timeless beauty with modern sensibilities, inviting moments of relaxation and reflection.

Join us in celebrating Swiss heritage, design, and innovation in a series of events set in a space to breathe, connect, and reflect. Don't miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Breathe with Me at WSA from May 16-23, 2024.

Date: 2024
Location: WSA NY, 161 Water Street, New York
Category: Interactive Exhibition 
Presented by: The Consulate General of Switzerland in New York

Gurtenfestival | Redesign VIP Comfort Zone

Bern / 2022

New Vibrations for VIP Spaces 

The 39th edition of one of Switzerland’s largerst music open-air festivals came to a brilliant end after 4 Days in mid’ July. 75,000 cumulative visitors - almost 44,000 different people (unique visitors) - livened up the “Hausberg” and enjoyed four days of sunshine and a true festival full of music, joy and party.  The return of the Gurtenfestival after 2 years of absence cannot be described as anything other than fantastic, even if such a generic adjective seems inappropriate. With splendid weather, very well attended concerts throughout, an atmosphere that cannot be described as anything other than a joyful to euphoric peaceful togetherness and various musical highlights, the 2022 edition will definitely go down in the Gurtenfestival history books. 

Musical diversity with numerous highlights
The importance of the diversity in the programme, which has often been a topic of discussion in the media in recent weeks, was only confirmed on the site - the composition of the people on and in front of the stages and the variety and breadth of the musical programme created an extraordinarily beautiful, joyful and euphoric atmosphere on the grounds. Acts like Erykha Badu, Megan Thee Stallion, Seeed, Little Simz, Balthazar, Anitta and The Chemical Brothers left a lasting impression on Bern and each other.
It was not uncommon for artists to be found in the audience of their colleagues before and after their concerts. For example, Arlo Parks and Kokoroko with Erykah Badu. The attention and responsiveness to the audience at each concert stood out: One moment a bursting full tent stage, the total demolition with Skepta - the next atmospheric devotion and devotion with Erykah Badu. Not to forget the moment on Thursday evening when the Gurtenfestival made worldwide (cultural) history and went viral: When Erykah Badu climbed the stage with Megan Thee Stallion, showed off her twerk skills and delivered, in Megan's words, "real mf texas shit, real mf hot girl shit": From Daily Mail to Complex and The Fader - they all covered this Gurtenfestival moment!
It wouldn't be Güsche if there weren't several Bärn highlights as well! Jeans for Jesus set the Waldbühne on fire, Chlyklass cleared the main stage, Sophie Hunger & Bonaparte enchanted the tent stage - and the list goes on...

A total of 64 bands played on the 4 stages, of which about 50% were Swiss bands, the female quota was also 50%. The carefully curated DJ line-up with a total of 74 acts from the three Dancetents Soundgarden (with a new building that turned the Ostsignal into a veritable club), Supermercado and Cosmodrome ensured almost continuously full dance floors already in the afternoon until 5 am. There was a surprise on Friday when "Baobab Forever" was on the programme at 9.15 pm at Soundgarden - behind the name was none
other than Nativ, who made the full Dancetent shake like there was no tomorrow.

Programme+ (plus)
The new food concept proved its worth. The visually upgraded food areas and stands were enjoyed by a large number of visitors, and the varied and diverse offer received a lot of positive feedback. The first festival-owned, purely vegan food stand in collaboration with Outlawz, the good mood food stand, not only enlivened the audience with its colourful appearance and a small water sprayer, but also with a wide selection of delicious, fresh festival classics. The afternoon beatmaking workshops by Helvetiarockt in the Soundgarden enjoyed great popularity and interest. The newly designed festival store with various merch items, including upcycled products from Rework and Bazaar, was very popular - a selection of handmade products from Bern will be available in the festival webshop from the end of July. The VIP area shone in new splendour. It was completely redesigned by Bernese designer Annabelle Schneider, also because of the new observatory located there, and invited visitors to linger in different areas.

Impressions from Festival

Wall Designs with and without Hollywood Lights

Project Process | Plans and Mock-Ups

Date: 2022
Designer comissioned by Gurtenfestival
Category: Things I built | Redesign the Comfort Zone of Switzerland’s most beautiful Music Festival
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Press: Der BundMusicfestivalwizard, Swissinfo, TheStallion, Complex, The Fader, Daily Mail

Broken Leaders | KKADE x The Seventh Letter 

Complexcon, Long Beach  / 2018

Broken Leaders | Complexcon 

ComplexCon is a convention curated by Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami. The festival celebrates and shapes pop culture of today’s generation “Whatever happens next, happens here”. Together with KKADE, a Swiss typography artists, Annabelle was assigned to curate the work and the capsule collection of clothes,  KKADE was exhibiting in collaboration with the renown street art collective The Seventh Letter in Long Beach, November 2018.  

“Broken Fonts”, KKADE’s politically challenging art series contains art pieces, a limited clothing line and two full-scale murals in Los Angeles. Based on the artist’s message, Annabelle developed and realized concept for 3 teaser videos that underlined his message and promote the clothes. The story was carefully orchestrated with a dramaturgy of movement, sound and light. During the fair, she put a DJ on top of the booth – a heroic, surprising and attention creating move. Soundtracks were aligned with KKADE’s art that is heavily influenced by lyrics and melodies.

Date: 2018
Art Direction: Digital Campaign and Exhibition Design for the Show “Borken Leaders”
Collaboration: KKADE, The Seventh Letter, Tony Goodguy
Category: Things I built | KKADE x The Seventh Letter’s Show: “Broken Leaders”
Location: Complexcon, Long Beach, California
Press: The Hundreds, Schwarzmaler, LA Taco, 20min 

Snapfinger | The Fallen Stripper

Atlanta and Bern / 2020

The Fallen Stipper | Social DisDancing

From Atlanta to Bern in physical and digital dialogue. Emotional collapsing distance from the Stripclub to the Art Gallery while the Covid pandemic accelerated.

Joëlle Lehmann and Annabelle Schneider are friends since their early teenage years. They used to dance to live concerts at open air concerts all around Switzerland. Music, performance and culture was what connected them from the minute they met.

Today, Joëlle is a photographer, based in Bern, Switzerland. Annabelle is based in New York, where she is a professor at Parsons and a strategic, spatial designer / artists. Her work is driven by research about socio-cultural changes in places where culture and Zeitgeist unfold. 

Annabelle applied for a research grant to investigate the accelerating dying and change of performative spaces such as clubs, initially. GenZ seems to prefer online connections with control over identities (…) more than dances in the offline world. Where does this lead us towards in the future? What and where will such places as clubs unfold? Online more than offline? What does this mean for designers conceptualizing emotionally loaded spaces for performances, music and culture?

Connected to her experiences with fashion runway designs and participations in New York’s queer ballroom scene (Voguing), she also questioned what increasingly more fluid gender types and the influence of black music, specifically Hip Hop and these days even more so Trap, has for the now and tomorrow we’re living in.

Pressing questions like these brought her to Atlanta. Joëlle joined her. Together they immersed in culturally relevant Strip Clubs. First, Follies. Then Magic Cities. Later also Blue Flame. They’re on-going presence, curiosity and empathy connected them with 2 strippers who eventually opened up pivotal scenes into different realms beyond the first visible. A vulnerable, dangerous and at times very sad life lines. Annabelle and Joëlle settled with highly skilled dancers in a basement outside of Atlanta: Snapfinger. A time that supported our understanding of what a life as a colored stripper in Atlanta’s hip hop and culture defining Strip Clubs means. Being able to dance in one of the most represented and popular clubs like Magic City (e.g. Lyrics from Plastic Bag, a song by infamous rappers Drake and Future “Magic City on a Monday, Esco treat that shit like church on Sunday”) asks for sacrifices, risk taking and many other socially and health-wise difficult decisions. But the girls are there; twerking in the air… without any security heads-down, artfully ‘hanging’ from the center of the club’s tall-ceiling. More than one girl. Possibly up to 3 holding each other, was the maximum. Insights from Snapfinger were unbelievable and not to be documented in detail here. Clearly, the life beyond the opportunities to sometimes become a dancer for a rap video (…), the life beyond the determined beats, the money showers and guests sitting on white-table-cloth tables, drinking champagne and making it rain (…), was less glamorous than media portrays. The real, vulnerable insights we made, lead Annabelle to further on-going researches beyond the initial, triggering questions.

What was meant to be a photography exhibit with some annotations and talks about findings and insights from research, on show scheduled for early March 2020 in the gallery Antichambre in Bern, Switzerland, was disrupted by a global lockdown just in time. The world stood still. The initial hypothesis of ‘next generations might end up connecting and living more online than offline’ just proved itself as real. But it affected the entire planet.

Despite a global desperation and total stand-still, Annabelle and Joëlle sill wanted to present something; Eventually with more potential for activation and support for well-being and dialogues with the now and here. They used the gallery’s spaces as a ‘stripper-box’. A deep window, displaying a low-budget installation of curved paper shapes and mirrored, splintered foils with a custom-made neon sign and significant photographs taken in Atlanta by Joëlle. The three-dimensional paper volumes on walls allowed for projection mappings when dancing activations happened. The fragmented mirror foils resembled the chaos, fragility and damage in the world and the stripper pole: yes, this was installed upside down. A symbolic statement for the state of the world. The fallen stripper was our guiding, new title. We wanted to tell the stories of the vulnerable dancers. We wanted to give them a platform, bring them there through visual images and projections. Connecting the world online but creating a pivotal experience in the physical. We gave the strippers a new platform and let pedestrians participate by watching or sometimes dancing as well. Covid-conform social distancing measurements with simple tapes were placed on the floor in the outdoor and indoor of the gallery. 5 markings on both sides let 10 people dance simultaneously – in a safety distance. We called it Social DisDancing. A successful performative piece during the world’s lockdown. Connecting Atlanta with Bern. Connecting different people through dance. Physically and digitally.
The real, vulnerable insights made, lead Annabelle to further on-going researches beyond the initial, triggering questions and later, when back in New York, connected her to Carly Cannell who actively researched sex trafficking in New York. She supported the team of Carly Cannell and Cotter Christian who worked for design against trafficking. A first exhibition, titled “When places speak”, displaying research and findings will be shown this Spring 2024 in New York.

When places speak, is a photography exhibit that provides a forum for places associated with trafficking to tell their story: from places where people are recruited to places used by purchasers, places used by law enforcement to stop trafficking, and places where survivors can transition. By starting dialogues around the places sex trafficking touches, we can shed light on the fact that it is happening here, in our neighborhoods and communities.

Annabelle assists Carly and will explore a multidimensional approach by adding digital layers with further information to photography.

Photogallery | Research

Date: 2020 - ongoing  
Idea, Research, Concept and Installation: Annabelle Schneider
Photography and Installation: Joëlle Lehmann
Strip Clubs: Magic City, Follies, Blue Flame, Clermont Lounge
Gallery: Antichambre Bern, Switzerland
Category: Things I built | Research and Interactive Exhibition 
Location Research: Atlanta (USA) - before Covid
Location Exhibition: Bern (Switzerland) - during Covid
Press: Der Bund, Radio RaBe, Die Berner Zeitung, AtelierPol