From May 18 - May 21, New York Design Week takes place at various venues around the city. At the Chambers Hotel in midtown, Swiss design agency Allegory Studio has transformed the master staircase into a “Rattan Cocoon,” inviting visitors to experience the exhibit space through a unique entrance.
NY Design Week aims to blend the traditional elements of art fairs, gallery fairs, and contemporary art exhibitions into a comprehensive experience. Allegory Studio is exhibiting at the Chambers Hotel as part of the French Design Connection group, whose goalis to export the best European design to New York City.
We had the chance to meet the Swiss founder of Geneva and Paris based Allegory Studio Albert Schrurs. He explained the inspiration behind “Rattan Cocoon” and the intricacies of designing and building the project. Check out our interview with Albert here and stop into the Chambers Hotel for a peek at the “Rattan Cocoon” staircase!
Pictured (L to R): Francesco Pirrello, Meet My Project director; Ansell Hawkins, Chambers Hotel general manager; Philippine Courtière Schrurs; Albert Schrurs, Allegory Studio founder; Clement Sauvoy, French Design Connection exhibition curator; Zsofia Ilosvai, Meet My Project.
Swiss classical musicians, Duo L&L (cellist Lionel Cottet and pianist Louis Schwizgebel), both 25 years old, have been performing together for over 8 years. The young, talented musicians have a successful career touring the world with their talents, and this Monday they will perform the Complete Set of Beethoven Cello Sonatas at Juilliard for their Artist Diploma Recital.
We had the pleasure of meeting the duo at Juilliard last week and they gave us a special preview concert in the Juilliard practice rooms (using the practice room piano and equipment!). They play together incredibly well and we can’t wait to see them on stage. Watch our interview with Lionel and Louis for a peek into what’s to come on Monday.
Lionel and Louis will be performing in separate parts of the world this summer (with Louis in Asia and Lionel in Northern Europe) but the two will reuniute soon in Geneva.
Guest Blog Post by Elena Baenninger, Project Manager, Cultural Affairs, Swiss Consulate New York
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 35th Solothurner Literaturtage (May 10 - 12, 2013), one of the largest and most renowned Swiss literary festivals. Each year literature enthusiasts from around the world gather in the picturesque town of Solothurn to hear readings and discussions by some of the most exciting contemporary voices from Switzerland and abroad.
This year’s festival attracted around 15’000 people, a significant increase from last year’s attendance, and for the first time was under the directorial guidance of Bettina Spoerri. Appropriately themed “Beginnings” (“Anfänge.Débuts.Inizi. Entschattas”), national and international writers discussed the difficulties of starting a novel and the struggle with the blank page. Young Swiss writers from all four Swiss language regions presented their debuts achievements, and translators from around the world gave the festival attendees a glimpse into the laborious process of literary translation while translating new texts in front of a live audience.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival was the Friday night reading by New York based, Pulitzer-prize winning American author, Michael Cunningham. Best known for his novel The Hours, Cunningham engaged in a lively discussion on stage with Bettina Spoerri and read from his soon-to-be-published novel about an artist’s complicated relationship with substance abuse and his search for inspiration, set in New York.
The Solothurner Literaturtage came to an end late Sunday afternoon with homage to prolific Swiss writer Urs Widmer and the presentation of the Solothurner Literature Prize 2013. Friend and fellow writer Klaus Hoffer gave a touching laudation for Widmer’s approaching 75th Birthday (May 21, 1938), followed by a captivating and humorous reading by Urs Widmer from his latest autobiography “Reise an den Rand des Universums”, which will be published in August of this year.
As a heartfelt closing to the festival, the jury awarded this year’s Solothurner Liteature Prize 2013 to Swiss writer Franz Hohler for his outstanding achievement as an author and performer.
The 35th Solothurner Literaturtage proved to be an inspiring experience for audience and authors alike and a successful beginning for director Bettina Spoerri. We wish continued success to all the writers who participated in this year’s festival and we’re already looking forward to the 36th edition of the Solothurner Liteaturtage next year!
For more information on the annual Solothurner Literaturtage and Solothurn visit: www.literatur.ch
Through our “Swiss Stories” series on YouTube, we share the experiences of Swiss expats in New York and the various contributions of the Swiss to American culture, economy and innovation. But what about the Americans abroad who are experiencing a slice of the Swiss life?
This week we had the pleasure of meeting New York born, Zurich based travel and food writer, Kerrin Rousset. The author of “My Kugelhopf” has called Switzerland home for almost 5 years and is the founder of “Sweet Zurich,” guiding visitors (and locals!) on walking tours of the best bakeries and sweet shops in the Altstadt.
Her blog documents life in Zurich through the lens of an American, delectably sharing her passion for sweets and travel. From local markets to all things dairy and speciality shops in the backdrop of the Alps, the bi-lingual French/English writer has great recipes, articles and tips to share. Watch our interview with her to learn more about her “Swiss Story” and her journey to finding the sweet life in Switzerland!
Rather than ask how “form follows function,” Christian Wassmann likes to ask how “form performs function.” The talented young Swiss architect and designer has been creating functional works of art for most of his life and in 2005, he established the Christian Wassmann Studio in New York City. Along with his international team, he develops architectural and design projects influenced by “the vibrancy of urban life, art and geometry.” In 2012, Christian received the prestigious AIA New York New Practice Award. He’s also the 2010 recipient of the Swiss Art Award.
Christian’s most recent exhibit, “5 Platonic Objects” at the R Gallery from March 5 - April 20, 2013, features furniture and drawings inspired by five unique geometric forms, also known as the platonic solids.
We had the chance to meet Christian recently, and he gave us a brief explanation of the inspiration behind each piece. Check out the video to see Christian’s walk-through of the exhibit!
For more information on the exhibit, please visit the R Gallery website. For information on Christian Wassmann Studios click here.
Switzerland and Modern art are synonymous. From Basel to Zurich, Geneva and beyond, Swiss Modern and Contemporary artists have inspired creative circles around the world. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) often showcases work from Swiss artists, such as the Dieter Roth exhibit “wait, later this will be nothing” currently on display until June. It’s no surprise then that modernism at the MoMa is also present in its restaurant, from the décor to the influence of Swiss culinary artists.
Located at 9 West 53rd Street in mid-town Manhattan, The Modern is designed as two distinct restaurants: the elegant yet casual “Bar Room” and the upscale, contemporary “Dining Room”. Both offer much more than your usual “museum dining” experience. Consistently rated one of the best restaurants in the city, The Dining Room at The Modern is noted for its Alsatian-inspired specialties, stunning aesthetics, visual presentation, and exquisite service.
We had the opportunity to meet with The Modern’s Swiss Italian Chef de Cuisine, Sandro Romano, for our “Swiss It Up!” series. After receiving apprenticeship training in Lausanne, Sandro moved to New York to pursue his career. Prior to joining The Modern, he worked at Eleven Madison Park (now home to award-winning Swiss chef, Daniel Humm) and was also Executive Sous Chef at Union Square Café. Although our interview with Sandro was filmed while he was still Chef de Cuisine, he has since moved on. After nine years with The Modern, Sandro Romano has left to pursue his next adventure.
Watch our interview with Sandro at The Modern for a “behind-the-scenes” fine-dining experience! Sandro has also shared his recipe (below) for this delectable Spanish mackerel, which he prepares in the video.
Note: This is the last appearance of Alex and Matthias in the “Swiss It Up!” series. The Consulate General of Switzerland in New York will continue to support, interview, and showcase Swiss restaurants and chefs in the New York area as part of “Swiss It Up!” but with different hosts. If you know any Swiss chefs, restaurant managers or owners who would like to be featured, please email us suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This month don’t miss the Disappearing Act V European Film Festival in New York! Running from April 10 to April 21, the festival features Swiss co-productions Summer Games (Switzerland-Italy) on April 21 and Corpo Celeste (Switzerland-Italy-France) on April 20.