Before becoming a museum, Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie was an office, and before that, it was a house. It represents Mies van der Rohe’s ultimately-constructed version of an unrealised project that once supported a revolution and later failed precisely because of it. Head of the Cuban rum manufacturer Bacardi, Jose Bosch, who took part in the overthrow of dictator Batista, had to quickly leave the country as the company was nationalised and expropriated after 1959. Not only did the brand have to reinvent itself in exile, but it also reconfigured the Caribbean imaginary by using other Miesian models as a reference, such as the headquarters of its rival liquor producer in Manhattan. Or said otherwise, Bacardi rum came out of Seagram’s whiskey. The museum-office-house turned out to be a flexible box under a roof and became an architectural prototype for corporate identities and dissociated geographies. How does it translate into today’s landscape?
Drinks and resolutions expected.