Stone balls, 1978
Red lava stone, 6 spheres,
diameter: 55 to 180 cm;
weight: 240 kg to 7.2 t
Swiss Post Branch,
In 1976, architect Franz Steinbrüchel completed a new building commissioned by PTT to express the new urban identity of the once-rural municipality of Effretikon: a bold red structure comprising a base topped by a residential tower. The art-in-architecture work Paul Agustoni developed for the building’s forecourt, which was also dominated by the colour red, blended harmoniously into the built context. As described in a letter from a Federal Art Commission representative, the square was envisioned as a small oasis of calm with a friendly, traffic-protected atmosphere. Agustoni’s contribution to this place of contemplation comprised six spheres of different sizes and a hemisphere serving as a drinking fountain, all made of red lava stone.
But the situation has been different since 2010 when the building and its surroundings were renovated. The square was opened up, and a staircase towards the street now takes on the enclosing function that a wall used to have. The building was painted modern white. The fountain suffered damage when it was moved and was not repaired. The spheres were repositioned and rearranged. Now detached from the architecture, the elements must assert themselves as an independent artwork.
Paul Agustoni (1934, Möhlin–2012, Liestal) was a popular sculptor in the region who realized over 100 commissioned works for public spaces. His stone sculptures regularly feature round forms, such as balls, wheels, and chains. Circles and spheres refer to the cosmic and spiritual themes that interested the artist. In Effretikon, they also serve as a counterpoint to the surrounding architecture while simultaneously engaging in a dialogue with the building’s curved lines.
Red lava stone