SIGHTS in Zurich:
Jeremie Maret, Lenny Staples and Christian Weber are the initiators of The Proposal in a Zurich backyard in the district Wiedikon. Since autumn 2011 the gallery has been housing new art projects - proposals, that is creative offers and suggestions which are both pool for ideas for further artistic works as well as exhibition objects on sale. In the past there has been a big, ballooned plastic man who filled the whole gallery space, towered up europallets in the courtyard symbolising the quest for meaning in life or faint freckles on textiles. Until summer 2012 The Proposal exhibits three more proposals followed by a retrospective. Beside its function as exhibition space The Proposal also serves as a Bed & Breakfast for up to four guests. They sleep either in the room right next or also in the exhibition, or in a Peugeot bus J7 from 1977, located in the courtyard.
On Augustinergasse you can be sure that you are on a street where everyone has been before you - and that every angle of it has been photographed already. Augustinergasse is a Swiss cliché only to be topped by Swiss pocket knives, watches, and chocolate. But thousands of Japanese tourists are rightly transferred here and shown around and invited to come again: Augustinergasse is simply so beautiful. What you see here is the most exquisite of Medieval Switzerland: cobblestones, cosy oriels and houses that have been restored with loving detail. Once craftsmen lived here, followed by factory owners eager to own the most beautiful façades. Probably all of them won the first prize with their double-floor wooden oriels and the colourful ornaments. If you have a photo of each house already, it pays off to make a small detour to the tiny boutiques and restaurants around. You should not miss them during summer time and you should book a table outside, order a coffee and watch the other tourists strolling by.
The Museum of Design holds everything its name promises, accommodating almost all kinds of art under its roof. The collection comprises design, graphic art, posters and art, and if you don't know what that means we are eager to explain. What is exhibited here might be a TV from 1969, or an eggcup with salt shaker. But you can also see advertising material, film posters, a French perfume flacon, or even a cocktail dress here. Everything that's connected with design, everything that's art, everything that people do when they do art, is exhibited at this museum. While the artists are often anonymous, everything that's shown here - from make-up to burnt furniture - is definitely worth seeing. And if you want to know more about the topic you can participate in diverse workshops or talk shop with exhibition experts. And once you are leaving the museum again you can be sure that you've learned something new. So take your time!
STAY in Zurich:
In Zurich the world revolves around banks. And busy bankers best look for a hotel that furthers concentration, such as the Seehof. Here, business people may finally take a rest and keep a level head at the purist hotel. The design is slightly reserved some say. But others delight in the pure lines, the absence of pomp and the plain appearance. A bed, a table, a chair - do you need more than that? Okay, we will need some high-tech, too. And the furniture is best quality, too. The junior suite even boasts its own terrace, and a bath to feel good in with a beautiful bathtub. But still, even the upper floors are manageable as to sizes: 25 square metres feature only what needs to be there. The rest is bells and whistles anyway. This trend continues into the restaurant, which is often frequented by the local culture scene due to its vicinity to the opera. A titbit of sushi, little sashimi, well prepared by chef de cuisine Keisuke Takatori, who you may watch while he prepares his art. Conclusion: Dining and sleeping is well-portioned at the Seehof. But there's nothing wrong with it every once in a while. Double rooms from 211 Euros per night.
And here's another hotel of the Swiss private label "Come in and feel good". While the Hotel Otter is 770 years old, neither its furniture nor its clientele are outdated. There's a lot of art everywhere, the rooms having been designed by various artists, so you won't get bored even at night time. There is an African lodge with bamboo elements, a Japanese variant with the usual minimalism, a maritime room with blue-striped wallpaper or fancy single rooms. At the Hotel Otter they know that there are different strokes for different folk, so individualism ranks high here. But the clientele - somewhere between model and musician - has to live up to James Joyce's harsh dictum: "Love, lie and look good because tomorrow we have to die". There are no limits to the cravings for pleasure and the door is open to the bar. While the latter's name is "Wüste" (desert), it is no desert at all. Here, true Zurich people get together for Swiss chats and a genuine Swiss beer. Do you need more? Double room from 105 Euros per night.
Different styles behind each door: The Hotel Widder is the Omelette Surprise among the design hotels. And so you are spoilt for choice: Baroque wall painting or loft with metal balcony? In the mood for heavy wooden beams or Andy Warhol? You'll find everything at the Hotel Widder: While the nine Medieval town houses feature different styles each, they have one thing in common: individualism. Minimal meets maximal here: You are offered heavy curtains, Biedermeier furniture and playful styles just as much as armatures sparkling with chromate, masculine leather sofas and pure lines. The restaurants feature a similar mix: The breakfast pavilion below a glass roof is so bright that you can see the yolk shimmering through your egg. While the Widder Restaurant is darker it is equally excellent (15 Gault Millau points). The Widder Bar features jazz in the evening. And with Hank Jones and Phil Woods you can easily round off the day over a single malt whisky. Double room from 550 Euros per night.
EAT in Zurich:
Aura in the Alte Börse in Zurich stands for a restaurant, bar, smoker's lounge and big event hall. It's the work area inhabited by Joachim Karsten, well-known in the city for his work at Tao's on Bahnhofstraße which was given a European-Asian cuisine by him. At Aura in the financial districts it's a bit more meaty - BBQ specials (like blade steak, bison filet or burger) are grilled on the open barbecue in front of the guests' eyes, according to the guests' wishes. Fish lovers' palates are tickled by salmon steaks, zander filets or lobster with tomato-basil-butter. And for dessert (which by the way opens the menu) they serve apple-blueberry-clafouits or caramel flan. This meal wants to be digested well - that's why you head to the second floor of the venue - to the Smoker's Lounge or the bar. By the way, Aura has been furnished by Evelyne Haussener. She is mother of the CEO of the Tao group that - apart from Aura - comprises Tao as well as the clubs Indochine and Icon.
Neni at 25hours
Haya Molcho goes Zurich. But don't worry, she obviously stays in Vienna too. The Israeli-Austrian celebrity chef makes a present to the Limmat city with her coriander, thyme and chutney creations that are served at Neni in the 25hours hotel. Neni - that stands for the name of her four sons: Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv and Ilan. Three of them work for the family business because cooking is a joint ritual for the Molchos. In order to make everything authentically Neni-like in Zurich, Haya has personally trained the kitchen staff around Peter Schüler and even revealed some of her culinary secrets. The former all find their way into the pot and result in an international culinary mix: Persian, Russian, Arabic, Moroccan, Turkish, Romanian, French, Spanish, German, Austrian and Swiss. Put more practically: fennel-pomegranate salad with roasted nuts and stained salmon. Enjoy your meal!
Tao's is the small brother of the Zurich restaurant Indochine and one of the city's ultimate places to be. Because of the garden terrace there are especially bankers coming for lunch into the lounge on Augustinergasse. But it's not only them. By night many romantics flock to the side roads of Bahnhofstraße with its countless corner oriels. They all have lots of space to spread out in the house which is full of nooks and crannies. For example in the bistro-like Tao's on the ground floor or the Asian restaurant on the first floor. The menu is the same, the standards make the difference. Downstairs you stay for sashimi, a drink and the Zen touch. Upstairs the business crowd is paying court to their guests on heavy upholstery, and lovebirds are dining until the early hours. The restaurant is decorated with old oriental ornaments and Chinese sculptures. Joachim Karsten is in charge for the culinary part - his cooking skills have already been rewarded with several Gault Millau toques.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
André (Andi) Stutz is a true sunshine and king in his field. Together with his sisters Elsa and Maya, he runs the company Fabric Frontline since 1980 and offers an immense range of precious silks. Not only his deer friend Vivienne Westwood but also Chanel, Gucci and Givenchy count to his clients. Apart from offering fine silk, Stutz and his team also design and produce accessories like neckerchiefs, scarves, foulards and ties. The headquarters with its complete range of fabrics is located in Ankerstrasse 118, whereas the boutique can be reached at Bahnhofstrasse 25, offering fashion made of cashmere and silk. Pullovers, jackets, blouses and coats made of silk are shining brightly in rainbow colours as if they were competing against each other. The boutique itself, designed by Ugo Rondinone, is richly colourful as well. For those of you who want it most exclusive can buy a custom-tailored silk garment by André Stutz.
Where the world is still a disc, the world is fine. At the Zero Zero you won't find a double zero as it sells only the best the music world has in store. At the perhaps best-assorted and largest record store in town music fans will find anything their heart desires. A comprehensive discography of rock's history, a lot of reggae and much Indie is big here. Our tip: If you arrive here on Thursdays, DJ Rexx will advise you and he is a true expert. You cannot only buy records here but also the fitting streetwear. Labels like Superdry, Abercombie and Goorin are the right outfits for Hip Hop and Co. And if you own something that you don't need anymore you've found the right place, too. The Zero Zero buys anything in the fields of CD, DVD, records or games. They even pick up bulkier stuff at your home. There is one genre though that even deters the wildest record dealers: The store doesn't sell hits and they are not bought here either.
It's so typical: When you finally have time to read a book on your vacation, it's a boring book you've taken along. Either you've bought it somewhere shortly before your departure or you wanted to brag with it because it looked so good. Here comes our tip: The Orell Füssli Bookstore is centrally located and sells books that look good. Also the inside looks good. The specialist for design, photography and architecture has anything that makes the hearts of art fans leap, from Andreas Gursky to Adolf Loos or to essays on genuine British cottages. And if you are in no hurry you enjoy coffee over Helmut Newton and talk shop with your neighbour from the other table. But if you are no friend of coffee-table books you will also find literature at Orell Füssli, along with books on Switzerland and a selection of French books at that.