The Nicola Erni Collection in Steinhausen, close to Zug, holds an extensive and in-depth collection of artworks in various media; photography, sculpture, installations, paintings, and works on paper by artists such as Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Maurizio Cattelan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Rashid Johnson, Inez van Lamsweerde, Henry Lartigue, Peter Lindbergh, Sara Moon, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Paolo Roversi, Julian Schnabel, Yinka Shonibare, Mario Testino, Ellen von Unwerth, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Tim Walker, Andy Warhol among others.
Nicola Erni has followed her passion for the past twenty years and acquired works that speak to her heart to build not only one of the largest photography collections in private hands, with works dating from the 1930s to today, the core being the outstanding fashion photography. Portraits, landscapes and still lifes add to the importance of this fascinating collection. Connoisseurs also praise the thoughtfully selected collection of contemporary art for its importance & quality. One of her priorities is constantly to promote emerging artists and to commission unique series of works to enhance their artistic careers. Her tireless passion has led to this fascinating collection set in an amazing surrounding.
The interaction between art, architecture and design has always been important to Nicola Erni. And as the collection steadily grew, Nicola Erni had the idea of creating her own “extended living room“ (a home tailored to her ever-evolving collection). She wished to make known her philosophy about how art and design interact – which she visualises in great detail and lives with in her private rooms – in a larger exhibition context and make it accessible to the public. By opening the private museum, Nicola Erni is able to share her passion with friends and art enthusiasts.
This first building was realised in 2013 following this philosophy. Visitors are led into a lush space filled with Asian and Californian influences and shaped by the carefully chosen materials of the architectural elements, design objects and Nicola Erni’s affinity for fashion. The spatial organization is characterized by calm, orthogonal exhibition rooms and is complemented by a dynamic interspace that creates surprising perspectives and provides space for niches and visual axes. The concept describes itself as "In- and Outside the White Box".
A second building was completed in November 2020. The two buildings, embedded in an overarching green space, react differently within the newly created site: the rough, pointed surface of the Dietfurt shell limestone gives the façade of the first building a sculptural, plastic expression which contrasts with the sheen of the second building’s copper-aluminium alloy panels. The volumes, levels and cantilevers, however, are in mutual dialogue; both building’s two-story atriums with their main entrances are in context with each other.