Grand Basel-eine ganz besondere Automesse

Grand Basel – an extraordinary automobile show

Wednesday, 22. August 2018 | Michelle Zumstein

From September 6-9, the ultimate show for automotive masterpieces, Grand Basel, will take place and will take you into a world of extravagant vehicles. We had a conversation with Mark Backé, the Global Director of the show, and were able to get some interesting information about the background of Grand Basel.

Can you describe the Grand Basel in one or two sentences?

Grand Basel is a new form of an automobile exhibition. It is an international trading platform which is being curated and which works in the exhibition with its own generic architecture. Grand Basel is also a further development of what ArtBasel is in the art sector. The principle has been further developed for the automobile with the Grand Basel.

What do you mean by curating?

It means that the cars exhibited at Grand Basel are specifically selected. Owners who wish to sell or exhibit their vehicle apply to us and an independent panel then decides which of these vehicles will actually be registered at Grand Basel.

What can guests expect from Grand Basel?

Visitors can expect an an exciting portfolio of exceptional vehicles. You will find the type of exhibition unique, as each vehicle stands in a generic exhibition architecture. This means that every vehicle has an identical environment. It is like a large, reduced automobile gallery in which the car is the centre of attention and no decoration or marketing takes place on the side.

So, the vehicles are represented like a work of art?

Yes, that’s correct.

What distinguishes Grand Basel from other motor shows such as the world-famous Geneva Motor Show?

The Geneva Motor Show is a wonderful and successful format with a strong focus on everyday mobility. Of course, Geneva has always exhibited special automobiles, but these are usually new vehicles. Grand Basel focuses on a completely different spectrum and covers the interests of those who prefer to collect a car or invest in it. Therefore, it is more a collector’s show than a fair dealing with everyday mobility.

Does this mean that you can also buy vehicles at Grand Basel?

Yes, a large part of the portfolio will be available for purchase.

What is the target group of Grand Basel?

The target group is very diverse. On one hand, it’s people who collect cars or invest in cars, but it is also people who visit Grand Basel to meet, exchange ideas or discuss diverse topics regarding the automobile industry. On top of that, the show is a place for people who are looking for the context between culture, architecture, design and cars. And, of course, Grand Basel is for car enthusiasts who enjoy the aestheticsts of unique cars.

Will Grand Basel be held in a public setting?

Yes, Grand Basel is open to the public. During September 6-9, anyone can buy a ticket to visit the show. However, there are also three days only for specially invited people.

What will the accompanying programme of Grand Basel look like?

There will be lectures by interesting speakers and guided tours, as we are convinced that the show will be even more fascinating with background information. Also, we attach great importance to good gastronomy, which invites visitors to stay longer with us.

The exhibition is also planned to take place in Miami and Hong Kong. Why was Switzerland chosen as the start location?

There is a very simple reason for this: the idea and the background of Grand Basel was developed here in Switzerland. It is therefore obvious that the country in which the idea was developed should also set the focus. This means that the first Grand Basel will also be implemented in Basel. It is also a staged Grand Basel, as people do not yet know it. Basel is thus used, as a setting to show people what Grand Basel actually has to offer. America was chosen as a further exhibition venue, as it is home to one of the largest collector’s markets. Hong Kong on the other hand is very interesting for us, because Hong Kong is a lively city, in which we see a very large potential in the area of the automobile collection market.

The exhibition spaces at Grand Basel are limited to 100 to 200 spaces. Why has an upper limit been set?

We strive to achieve a very strong quality-driven format and the limitation of exhibition space is a decisive factor here.

How do you select the vehicles that will be presented or companies that would like to exhibit their cars?

The selection has to do with the quality, the origin, the craftsmanship, the technical fascination, the number of vehicles and many other criteria. These are very different aspects that come into play here, although as the organisers of the event we have no voting rights in the curating process.

Who are the curators?

The advisory board is composed of people who have different focal points. They are designers, artists and car experts who work with various experts themselves. The selection and curating doesn’t have to be carried out by the experts, the verification of whether a vehicle is authentic and special is carried out by so-called silent experts.

Which is the most valuable/extraordinary vehicle exhibited at Grand Basel?

I don’t want to anticipate the advisory board yet, but you will certainly see vehicles that caught a lot of attention in recent months. However, the advisory board hasn’t completely decided on all the vehicles, but I can say that there are no limits!

Grand Basel Messedirektoren

What motivated you to become the Global Director of Grand Basel?

For professional reasons, I have been to car shows for years and have often asked myself if the formats need a change. When I first saw the concept of Grand Basel, it immediately convinced me. I thought it sounds exciting and I like to develop new things anyways, so I dedided to take the risk.

What is an automotive masterpiece to you?

For me it’s a mixture of style and a certain driving feeling. Technology doesn’t matter to me very much, I concentrate more on the overall picture of how I feel when I’m driving the car.

Why do you believe in the success of Grand Basel?

I think the time is right for a new format. The automobile and its significance in today’s everyday life has changed and will do so continuously. Our everyday mobility will be more autonomous, but I also think that special automobiles will become more desirable . I strongly believe that a platform that focuses on this niche is interesting and does not exist yet. That is why I believe that Grand Basel will be a great success.

Mark Backé

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