Tonight I’ll be hosting the next Dwell Conversation, Designing Diplomacy, a panel discussion on the intersection of design and diplomacy at the Finnish Embassy in Washington DC. As easily one of the most impressive and forward-looking embassies in town, the Finnish Embassy is an ideal place to discuss American embassies abroad, foreign missions on American soil, and what the two disciplines have to say to one another.
Waking up, despite the early hour, was a joy in sunny Lausanne. Finally, after days of rain, I could look onto spectacular Lake Geneva as I hurried through my breakfast. We were up and out in the morning to commence our look at two Lausanne Universities: ÉCAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne) and the EPFL (Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne), which is currently getting an amazing new building by the Japanese architects, SANAA.
The morning weather in Madiswil at the Hotel Baeren was gloomy at best. Rain fell sideways as our driver Herr Muster helped us load up the van. We’d been told that sunnier skies awaited us in Basel, and then just across the German border at the Vitra Design Museum, but the hour’s drive suggested otherwise.
Things commenced this morning under the gray skies again, though this time, instead of nattering about Zurich, we were off to the rural byways of Langenthal, a quaint little town reputed for its industrial prowess.
The sunny weather we enjoyed yesterday has evaporated, and once-sunny Zurich is rainy and gray. After checking out of Hotel Greulich we started our busy program by heading over to Pro Helvetia, a firm dedicated to promoting Switzerland for a lecture on historical and contemporary Swiss design.
I got into Zurich around 9:00 AM on Sunday, rather wiped out from my flight from San Francisco via Newark. Fading, but anxious to get out and see the town, I called up Zurich-based architect Felix Oesch, who designed the house in Eglisau, Switzerland, which ran in our February 09 Prefab Issue. He and his afghan, Giselle, picked me up at my Swiss Kreis 4 hotel for a stroll about town.
I'm headed off to Switzerland on Saturday to take part in the Presence Switzerland Design and Innovation tour. I've never been before, but the itinerary is chockablock with the tiny nation's architecture and design leaders, from the Vitra Design Museum to the Freitag store (pictured below) in Zurich, constructed of shipping containers.
I stopped into the quite charming San Francisco spirits store Cask last week, and though the grappa selection left something to be desired, I was taken with these animal head shot glasses by Japanese Designers Goody Grams.