Having never been to Switzerland in the Summer before, I have to tell you that I was really surprised as to how hot it was. We had a beautiful long weekend, basking in temperatures of 30 – 32 degrees, with blue skies, lots of sunshine and some stunning sunsets. We managed to take in Zurich (where I did a great deal of interior shopping research. Ok fine, I bought a few things too); Vaduz in Liechtenstein (small, but perfectly formed); Bern (just so absolutely breathtakingly, beautiful); and Basel (where we got deliberately lost in the old winding streets of gorgeous ancient houses).
One of my favourite things about our visit to Switzerland was watching the locals in both Bern and Basel indulge in the fabulous pastime of changing into their swimwear, securing all of their other clothes into a locally made waterproof bag (each city has their own logo emblazened on them!), then jumping into the river. The waterproof bag becomes a flotation device and the river’s current carries them downstream to a number of different places where they can easily get out of the water having cooled down from the heat.
It was fascinating to watch scores of people just float past, chatting or swimming against the tide for a bit of extra exercise, as we walked along the riverside. Had we packed our swimming stuff, we probably would have joined them – it looked like the perfect way to spend a hot day!
But, back to business. I spent much of our time in Zurich seeking out Swiss design inspiration to bring to you. And boy, was there alot of it! I think we visited around ten interiors stores in all – each different from the next. I picked up these pretty blue ceramic plates (and a geometric ceramic parrot – don’t ask) from the rather lovely Swiss interiors giant, Pfister. Pfister offered a veritable treasure trove of contemporary interiors joy, including furniture, throws, cushions, candles, decorative items and much more.
There seemed to be branches of the store all over Switzerland – we saw stores in Zurich, Bern and Basel – and much of the range had a sleek, Scandinavian feel to it. Price wise it was quite reasonable (certainly by Swiss standards) with throws ranging from 39CHF (£27) up to the one that I wanted, which was 159CHF (around £100 – typical!). Definitely worth a look next time you’re in Switzerland.
Another store I enjoyed spending some time in (though I resisted the urge to buy anything) was DecoDomo on Pfalzgasse in Zurich. This store was much more standalone than the behemoth that is Pfister, and it is much more traditional in terms of the items it stocks. It offered some beautiful furnishings and fabrics – turquoise velvet anyone? – as well as decorative items with oriental and Moroccan influences. As such, I felt it warranted a mention.
For the vintage lovers amongst you, I had to include Einzelstueck, a store with a number of retro (or at least retro-inspired) delights for the home. A bit more tongue in cheek, this store offers some fun and quirky household accessories as well as some larger pieces, like vintage school desks and chairs.
Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly find another interiors store in Zurich, I came across Soeder on Ankerstrasse, a Swiss design collective featuring the work of a number of Swiss designers. I really connected with the great ethos behind the brand which is to seek out contemporary design made from the best resources, and items that are useable and long-lasting. So, ecological and sustainable as well as lovely to look at. Super. The store was too beautiful not to go in so I did, and discovered two Swiss designers in the process, whose work is definitely worth taking a look at.
First up, this Lichtenau candle holder set by Arno Wolf really caught my eye. Sold in a set of three in varying heights, these contemporary candle holders are made in solid brass and are actually fantastically heavy – you can guarantee your candles will not blow over (even if they may blow out) in a strong wind. At an entirely reasonable 78CHF (or £53), I very almost came out with a set of these, even though they probably would have pushed my baggage allowance over the limit! More items, now designed by Arno Wolf’s grandsons, Florian and Tobias Hilbert, including some gorgeous made-to-order solid oak or elm dining tables made from old doors, are available on the Arno Wolf website.
The one item I did allow myself to indulge in at Soeder was this gorgeous black and white wool blanket designed by Susann Buhlmann. Styled here on my favourite sofa, I couldn’t resist this large blanket which is made from 100% ecological lambs wool and is priced at only 75CHF (or £51). Whilst Swiss designed, it’s actually produced in Lithuania, so it ended up fulfilling my global inspired interiors brief far better than I expected!
Soeder also offer a range of other goods, including lighting, furniture, clothing, prints, postcards and these lovely notebooks – below. And as they have an online presence, you can check them out at your leisure or subscribe to their newsletter to keep up to date on their newest additions. Excellent.
So, I think I’ll leave it at that for now – there’s plenty here to keep you going for a while if Swiss design is your thing. I wasn’t sure what Swiss design would entail prior to visiting, but I can safely say that if the items above are anything to go by, then I am sold!
Are there any other Swiss stores or designers that you’d like to see featured? I have a few held back for a future post/shopping guide, but will happily indulge any requests!
Happy travels, and shopping,