SIGHTS in Zurich:
Good ideas should be handed on. Especially those like the Senior Design Factory in Zurich which brings the young and old together: for meals, chats and getting creative - for example during a knitting workshop. The idea for this project - building bridges between generations - comes from the Zurich designer Debora Biffi and Benjamin Moser. Crucial: her diploma thesis and Andy Warhol with his Silver Factory in New York melting art and consumption. The result: in March 2011 the first Senior Design Factory subsidiary opened with shop, atelier and workshop room located on Josefstraße. You can buy interior accessories, recipe cards, tea, brushes and household items. In autumn a second subsidiary opened on the pulsating shopping street, only a few houses away - with café and restaurant. Maybe you need to wait a moment longer for you coffee which you order from the 70-year-old waitress. But you'll possibly receive a charming smile in compensation. Also at the knitting workshop for beginners and advanced knitters with senior designers aged 90. Stop by, it can only get exciting!
As far as souvenirs go, there's probably no other country that has more than Switzerland. Okay, the Scots have their skirts and the United States have their cowboy hats. But we can bet that when you think of Swiss souvenirs at least three will come to your mind spontaneously: watches, chocolate and Swiss knives. You can buy these and more at Teddy's Souvenirshop, a store that is crammed with cuckoo clocks and other Swiss precision work. There are pennants and flags as well and everything worth printing an edelweiss on it. There are cuddly Saint Bernard toys, the famous cow bells to wear around your neck, and Swiss pocket knives with thousands of necessary functions to brag about. Teddy's is a hotchpotch of Swiss clichés probably worth only a mild smile by the Swiss themselves but the items still sell like hotcakes. Because once you are here you have to buy something, and be it a white cross on red background.
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.
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.
What you understand by that corresponds to your imagination. Kronenhalle means dinner deluxe for royalties or those that want to become a nobleman or noblewoman. You'll find Matisse and Kandinsky on panelled walls, there's a lot of crystal on white table-cloths and Picasso and James Joyce are on the guest list. The atmosphere is dark and dapper, perfect for a business agreement between bankers or the small bite preceding an opera evening. But not only are the guests classics at the Kronenhalle but also is the menu. Instead of Nouvelle Cuisine it is tradition that is served here on silver platters: Wiener Schnitzel (astonishingly!) and veal bratwurst with hash browns. You also get French Fries at the otherwise conservative restaurant. And if you are tempted to try the "Mistkratzerli" you've become a true fan of Zurich.
Who made it here made it everywhere. No, we are not talking about New York but about Zurich. To be precise, we are talking about cheese fondues in Zurich. This Helvetian specialty is heavy stuff - heavy too eat because melted cheese sticks and heavy to digest because you feel the fondue's effect even days afterwards. And yet, if you don't honour the Caquelon you are not worth to visit Switzerland. The fondue pot is a must for all Swiss, and if you want to become a cheese adept you have to visit the Fribourger Fonduestübli. You'll pay some 20 Francs for it but considering the quantity that's not really bad. Besides, you've saved your next meal, for sure. Bread with fondue is important but you won't be able to eat the pearl onions and forget about the potatoes. Tough ones go for a mousse au chocolat afterwards but all the others ask for the digestif card and choose the one that has the best effect. If you regret your decision be assured: The Fonduestübli has been melting cheese for 30 years, so you will survive!
SHOPPING in Zurich:
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.
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.
STAY in Zurich:
Everything's a bit artsy here, a bit casual and easy-going. The Hotel Seegarten adapts to the vicinity of the lake, pouring oil on troubled water with its famous calm before the storm. The Seefeld district is not a quiet one, after all. Many bars, stores and galleries demand a high degree of shopping discipline, weigh heavy on credit cards and make visitors dizzy with shopping frenzy. We recommend you keep your nerve and quickly check into the Seegarten Hotel because there you will be able to catch your breath. Its Mediterranean flair, its rattan furniture and the terracotta floors make the world appear much more relaxed. No wonder that the hotel became a pilgrimage shrine for the stressed-out. Among the media and advertising trades the hotel enjoys great popularity. Apart from its nice atmosphere you can also enjoy delicious culinary treats dished up by Restaurant Latino, very leisurely and stress-free, of course. You will seldom find a more uncomplicated hotel than the Seefeld in clockwork Switzerland. Double rooms from 187 Euros per night.
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.
All show and all the substance - the Alden holds what it promises from its looks. It is a recently renovated fin-de-siècle artwork with state-of-the-art amenities. There is the classical cosy library with brown leather sofas and golden grandfather clock. There is the presidential suite in pastel and with textile-covered chairs and the ceiling features stucco, of course. There is the Piano Bar with heavy chandeliers above your glass with Hennessy and clinking ice cubes. The modern side of the hotel features the restaurant, a mixture of state-of-the-art and antique, garnished with fresh ingredients from the organic market, dominated by innovative cuisine. On the rooms you find the cutting-edge technology every modern hotel subscribes to today: high-speed internet, flat-screen, WLAN. There are whirlpools and there is the fitness equipment of your choice. But the hotel is old, of course: the walls are old, the structure is old. But that old does not equal outdated is proven by the Alden. Above all the hospitality is classical. Double room from 290 Euros per night.