[December 22 2016]
Anyone who had spent a bit of time in Zurich last summer scoping out Manifesta, will recognise that there’s a lot more to the city than cheese and chocolate. It’s the city that gave birth to the Dada movement, for one. Two: it’s home to a stunning pavilion by Le Corbusier. And, as Switzerland’s largest city, and one of the world’s wealthiest, it’s a haven for art collectors and for galleries that jostle for their attention.
Conveniently, most of which—Hauser & Wirth, Eva Presenhuber and Francesca Pia—to name but a few; not-for-profit institutes like the influential Kunsthalle, Maja Hoffmann’s LUMA Westbau; and the Migros Museum for Contemporary Art, are all located under the roof of the former Löwenbräu brewery in the once industrial west of the city. Just one of the benefits of this “small and quiet” city a local artist friend told me to expect – the other is that cars are more-or-less non-existent in its city centre.
All which means you’ll have more time to scope out the rest of the city; to check out the seriously impressive permanent collection of the Kunsthaus (Old Masters, rare Giacometti and Matisse sculptures, video works from Zurichoise artists like Fischli/Weiss and Pipilotti Rist); Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows in Fraumuenster Abbey; take in the views from the rooftop Thermalbad Spa next to Google’s HQ; or to pay a visit to the Cabaret Voltaire in the medieval old town where the “collective sacrilege” that is Dada began.
And literally just a few cobbled steps away from the Cabaret is the Marktgasse Hotel, a beautifully restored 15th century hotel furnished with a Vitra-meets-Swiss hygge aesthetic, and houses the Baltho restaurant with its world-class cocktail bar. With a super casual vibe, it’s the perfect base for when you’re in the city next for the Art Weekend before Art Basel in the summer, when the Le Corbusier pavilion is open and you can swim in any of the city’s rivers. Or to stay a night later this winter on your way up to ski in the mountains, in town to hide some money, or whatever else people like to do when they’re in Zurich.
Text and photo Xerxes Cook