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!
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.
Kreislauf 4+5 is the creative heart of Zurich: Here, fledgling designers create the labels of tomorrow, artists invent the art of tomorrow in their studios and chefs conjure up the cuisine of tomorrow. Everything that has to do with art, trend or style is at home here. And so it was only a question of time before the artists' quarter installed its own open house. The latter is called Kreislauf 4+5 here, introducing all visitors to a creative microcosm that offers anything connected with a city's lifestyle. Every May you can browse around in architectural books, buy unique furniture or devote yourself to fusion food over a coffee. Whatever you need, you can buy it at Kreislauf. And a book of the same name serves as guide through the large quarter including portraits of all stores around here. And if that's still not enough you can go on a 2-hour tour with insiders that will point out your favourite stores.
EAT in Zurich:
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.
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.
A typical American diner with typical megalomania: Here, cholesterol junkies can enjoy the biggest burger in town. "Big Mama" is not apt for single eaters though. 2-4 persons can easily take a nip from the beef with bacon and cheese. If you still order side dishes you are either the chief or very hungry. But what else is on the menu? Tex-Mex of the finest, naturally. Chilli, nachos and tortillas are the restaurant's specialties, and also the Swiss like them. Don't ask how your stomach feels afterwards, but if you treat yourself to burgers every once in a while you can't do anything wrong. Only the lunches are slightly more European: Bratwurst, Greek salad and hash browns, while being less American, still taste good. The evening programme is a further highlight at the Iroquois: While having your meal at the bar you can watch the current soccer games on a giant screen. What's an American bar without sports TV anyway?
STAY in Zurich:
Greulich (sounds like grey or gruesome in German) is not the best name, however, it derives from the street name there, and the street is named after a renowned labour movement politician. The refined understatement is palpable all over the district. Where once the clack of heavy boots resounded, the creative scene walks high-heeled about its showrooms. Designers also gave the finishing touches to the hotel, paying tribute to the thirties and fifties above all. Function and colour dominate the interior of the design hotel - here a bit of secretive blue, Mediterranean shades over there, interrupted by a lot of glass for the perfect view of the inner courtyard. And it's this view that surprises: Instead of the usual three wooden tables with open sunshades you find birch trees, conveying a lot of tranquillity amidst the scene district. The rooms are devoted to Zen as well: Purity, indirect lighting and minimalism at its best. The business people like that and the cuisine as well, Catalan specialties following the topical principal of slow food. And if you have eaten your food real slowly, you can slowly light a cigar at the Cigar Lounge. Double room from 180 euros per night.
The Kindli is one of these honest hotels one likes to visit and likes to leave again. And one likes to remind it. Here, they've been in the hospitality business for 500 years already. While in former times the pious ones with their very pious thoughts flocked to the Christian hospice and its very pious landlord, today's guests wash away their sins on Grander water. They put their heads on Hästens pillows and pray that their credit cards last through their shopping sprees at Zurich's top designers around the corner. But also the restaurant is worth its price: While the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine has not much room for tight belts, it has made room for Hanny Fries, whose pictures are on the restaurant's wall. On the wine card you find the noblest champagne as well as red and white wines from all over the world. One thing for sure: With its fountain in front of the windows, its Laura Ashley style and the church bells in the morning, the Kindli is one of the most romantic hotels in town. Whether it's still as pious as in former times we can't say. Double room from 277 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.
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.
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.
Have you experienced something like that, too? You step into a store and immediately ask yourself where you will place the stuff you are going to buy in a minute. And still you buy it, and later on you have garden shears although you have no garden. At Limited Stock you can devote yourself to passionate collecting. You'll find anything that makes your heart leap, always combined with the buzz words you want to hear: rare, for example, or unique piece, or limited edition. Hubert Spörri and Ulrich Zickler have travelled to the remotest spots in the world to bring along all those things that look simply good but probably are of no use at all. You want them anyway? Then come by here and discover a world of rare snails, fossil wood, noble viennese glass or garden gadgets. You will find something you would never have guessed you could use, for sure!