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M.A.D. Gallery - M.A.D. beyond borders

M.A.D. Gallery M.A.D. beyond borders

WorldTempus speaks with the managers of the M.A.D Gallery locations (Dubai, Hong Kong, Taipei) to find out why the unique concept works beyond borders.

Since the opening of the first M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva in 2011, the concept has slowly been taking root in other locations all over the world, as MB&F’s philosophy and brand became more popular. Part art gallery and retail space for MB&F timepieces, the M.A.D Galleries have continued to spotlight unique artists working with kinetic art and mechanical art devices.

M.A.D. beyond borders

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery Dubai © M.A.D. Gallery

Three years after the initial opening of the Geneva location, a second gallery opened in Taipei in collaboration with Swiss Prestige, then in Dubai in 2016 operated by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, followed by the Hong Kong location in 2018 opened in collaboration with Elegant Watch and Jewellery. Both the independent watch brand and the gallery, inextricably linked in concept and ideology, began to find their audiences in other places where traditional retail started to seem stale.

M.A.D. beyond borders

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery Hong Kong © M.A.D. Gallery

While the galleries are all run centrally through Maximilian Büsser, who ultimately makes the final decisions on who and what gets exhibited in the M.A.D. Galleries, each M.A.D. Gallery and the people who operate them have a voice in their respective markets, proving that each location is a strategic move for MB&F and the M.A.D. Galleries. "At first, each artist’s work needs to match with the gallery philosophy and concept," explains Wael Al Najjar, Gallery Manager for the M.A.D Gallery in Dubai. "We are a small team curating the artists we exhibit in the M.A.D. Galleries. Each person in the team has their word, in regards to an artist to be exhibited, the entire team must literally fall in love with the art and we need to reach the general agreement. As always in art, it’s very subjective!"

M.A.D. beyond borders

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery Dubai © M.A.D. Gallery

However, sometimes not all (mechanical) art is from everyone. Jack Ho, manager of the Hong Kong M.A.D Gallery and General Manager of Elegant Watch & Jewellery, explains that in his particular market, size matters: "We like to think practically about the size the devices, as our target consumer, whether a local or a traveller passing, would prefer something handy, compact and as well as interesting," explains Jack Ho.

"The Asian mentality with our clientele is different—it’s pretty difficult to understand the combination of art and timepieces," says Lori Shen, Taipei M.A.D Gallery manager and owner of Swiss Prestige Taiwan. "This is our challenge: to make the art and watch lovers appreciate this concept."

M.A.D. beyond borders

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery Taipei © M.A.D. Gallery

But, unanimously, all the managers of each respective M.A.D. Gallery agrees: what makes the M.A.D. Galleries work is that there’s nothing else like it in their region.

M.A.D. beyond borders

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery Taipei © M.A.D. Gallery

"We’re the only ones to do this in this region," says Najjar. "This kind of art is very unique and complicated, and the artisans who make these kinds of pieces don’t have the right places to exhibit their art. A place like the M.A.D. Gallery helps these artists create their next piece every time we facilitate a sale of one of their art pieces." And according to Ho, it’s partly about reinvigorating the traditional retail experience: "We believe the M.A.D. Gallery may expand our clientele as well as provide a pioneer retail concept to our clients, particularly those who are already tired with the traditional retail concept," adds Ho.   

M.A.D. beyond borders

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery Taipei © M.A.D. Gallery

Shen explores this further, explaining that the M.A.D. Galleries tend to challenge what people traditionally think ‘art’ is: "For most of the people, art is a painting or a sculpture, which is why it’s important that we open the door for the mechanical art devices," says Shen". "It’s very different from the traditional watch retailers and art galleries. Who said galleries were boring?"

 

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