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.
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!
Everything that's going on here was won hard: The former silk factory was due for dismantling but the avant-garde scene was against it. A 1973 referendum decided that the factory was going to continue as a centre of culture and encounter. But the conservatives were against it, maintaining that rock music was no culture and should not be allowed to be staged at a city centre of culture. Then, nothing happened for many years. Eventually, the youth movement demanded that there be life in the dead factory. And after innumerable demonstrations they succeeded. Today, the red factory has cult status. Even Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had guest performances here. Diverse programmes are hosted every evening. The factory theatre stages artistic experiments on a regular basis, there is free jazz, and thanks to "Fabrikvideo" fledgling musicians can produce their own videos and use the factory-owned cutting machine.
EAT in Zurich:
Industrial design: While the Swiss have not invented it, they like it anyway. At the trendy Rosso, for example, they overdo it a bit, with cables hanging loose and bare light tubes on the walls. Also the view you have from the long window front will only appeal to railway fans. Tracks and trains dominate the scene, and dinner is little romantic. But while you can get your water directly from the tap, you have to be patient awaiting your pizza. But when it finally is served, the waiting has been worthwhile. It tastes equally fantastic as the grilled calamari, making up for bare walls and bad service. The clientele that comes here likes the hippie chic because it's part of the scene. Medical students like the clinical surroundings, eagerly dissecting their wood-stove pizzas. Sometimes a local DJ acts as pizza man, unless he is occupied with his own business. All in all the Rosso is certainly an adventure not to be missed - but if you come a second time is a question of patience.
If you want to get closer to the water you have to be in the water. The outdoor lounge of Acqua promises the probably best view of sailing boats, mountains and Lake Zurich's sparkling blue. Such a panorama does only harmonise with the noblest interior, of course. The terrace is white and made of wood, suiting a fish meal after a long walk along the promenade. But the restaurant is luxurious inside as well: large windows, a lot of mother-of-pearl and space for a conservative clientele concluding perfect deals over a perfect dinner. The menu is as fresh as morning dew, combining seasonal and regional specialties. Fish and meat are grilled, the pizza comes from the wood stove and the guests come from the general assembly. And that's how the prices are defined. Acqua is not cheap but it is good. And you can get great brunches here. On Sundays they serve Mediterranean "Brunch al Lago" from 10.00 to 14.00.
Eating like a pig but not eating pork. The latter applies to the Tibits, because you won't spot a pig or any other animal here. But relax: Nobody eats like a pig here either. Yet the vegetarian restaurant favours a casual atmosphere. Guests may serve themselves at a buffet, but that doesn't mean that meals taste like canteen food. Instead of boring cordon-bleu like mainstream meals you are offered fresh vegetarian dishes: Bircher muesli in the morning, gingered tomato soup for lunch, organic sandwiches in the evening. You won't find more seasonal and regional food anywhere. Prices depend on the weight of your food. 100 grams from the buffet cost 4.10 Francs. Does it come as a surprise that vegetarian food gets increasingly popular? Even in London they know the Tibits Take Away by now. The idea stems from the three brothers Reto, Christian and Daniel Frey. They were supported by the Haus Hiltl, a restaurant having specialized in vegetarian food since 1898.
SHOPPING in Zurich:
The Boutique Roma has style, i.e. Belgian and not Italian style. While the name is somewhat misguiding, you may rest assured: What you buy here has a name. And a big one at that. You'll find Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester here. And they are not alone because Roma also hosts international designers together with the Belgian ones, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens or Haider Ackermann among them. If you have found the fitting noble outfit you can also leave your old sandals here. The new shoes come from Shoto, Fitzroy and Camper, the bags from Sak and Numero 10. And while SHE lives out her shopping frenzy, HE is also offered the fitting designer wear. Boutique Roma offers Royal Shirt, The Viridi-Anne and Georgio Brato for men. Once you leave the store you've shopped in three countries: Belgian designers on Swiss ground and with Italian names.
Here comes our tip for a perfect day in Zurich: a visit to the Kunsthaus, a gourmet lunch at the Kronenhalle and if you are in the mood for gift shopping visit Steinhauer's around the corner. The store offers a wide variety of international gifts. The perfumed candles come from Paris, the towels from Japan and the leather bags from Vienna. Steinhauer is equally popular for its wedding presents. And if you have been married before you know that one can always use silver cutlery - and salad servers and champagne glasses. What a shame when the serviettes are missing at your new home! That's why the wedding list by Steinhauer comes in so handy. The store offers individual complete packages for couples so that the relatives know what they should buy and the newly weds don't have ten toasters in the end. But even if you don't want to get married you will find the right present for any occasion here. The garden furniture might be a bit bulky, and you might not be able to get all the china into the suitcase. But handkerchiefs and felt slippers will even fit into the hand luggage, for sure!
Those who think that Swiss fashion is mostly made of traditional costumes are wrong. There are a few exceptions on the Zurich fashion scene: Lotta Müller, for example, who went to Milan to learn from the best. Among others, she already worked for Vivienne Westwood and Roberto Cavalli. Now, she is back to Zurich, and has opened up her own store. What you can buy here, you can't buy anywhere else: unique pieces made in Zurich and not in a North-Italian factory. If you get alarmed when you hear the name Westwood, relax: While Lotta Müller's fashion is avant-garde, her exclusive shoes are wearable. Also the other pieces of her collection may very well get in touch with dirt. While the new and newly discovered labels are chic and expensive, you won't find the Baroque ruffs á la Westwood. But you can buy her Anlgomania collection, and LaLotta Boutique also sells Gilles Rosier and Oktober.
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.
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.
The Hotel Zürichberg is well off with its top location: on a hill above the town, amidst rolling hills, meadows and woods, with a terrific view of Zurich and the lake. Here, guests can rest and recreate, protected from noise and stress. The Art Nouveau building's façade hides what awaits you inside: top-class design. Noble parquet floors, shades in mauve and red and great designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Jasper Morrison forebode only good things for a good night's sleep. And late sleepers and caffeine junkies have only to steps to walk before reaching their own Nespresso machine on their room. While George Clooney is not included, the noble Restaurant R21 has other goodies in store. The Mediterranean cuisine is almost as attractive as George. We recommend a glass of champagne on the breathtaking terrace of Zürichberg and lots of idleness. And if that's not enough for you, you can also set out on a discovery trip in the woods behind the hotel. Double room from 219 Euros per night.