Industrial designs in Zurich West
Next, turn left down Ottostrasse to Neugasse, where there is a Dada-esque quality about the next destination. Estelle Gassmann's witty artworks comprise of household objects, such as china serving platters or simple wire mesh waste paper bins, that are brought to life with sprawling alien-like tendrils made of plastic, porcelain, glass and clay, transforming them into surprisingly beautiful and quirky objets d'art.
From Neugasse, turn left onto Quellenstrasse to reach Josefstrasse, the main drag for most of the studios and boutiques in Kreis 5. Waldraud sells limited-edition contemporary furniture -- such as chairs, tables and lamps -- and fashion for women and men, all from designers as far afield as the Netherlands, Latvia and South Korea.
If you are in need of refreshment, then the cosy, wood-panelled confines of the nearby bar/restaurant Josef will cocoon you until you are ready to set forth again. The cocktails (alcoholic and non) are very tasty, and the vast gin selection is unsurpassed in Zurich. The restaurant is considered one of the best and most reasonably-priced in the city, as you can order tasting menus with two to five dishes per person, including dessert from 36 Swiss francs to 70 Swiss francs. The menu is unashamedly fleshy (highlights include pork belly, beef tartare or scallops) but there is always at least one vegetarian option, and the thyme polenta with chanterelle mushrooms is especially recommended.
Across Josefstrasse from Josef, Lesunja Goldschmiede sells bespoke gold jewellery made from new or old pieces, melted down to create a heady mix of delicate and bold new designs. She also takes your old gold as currency for new items. In a unique feature, you can learn how to make you and your partner's wedding rings in her workshops and one-to-one courses. Drop in, or contact her via the website to arrange a personal consultation visit, as schedules vary from course to course.
On the opposite side of the street, Manu Propria is a spectacles store founded by two opticians who design and construct their own frames. They have made a name for themselves as the trendiest place in Zurich to go for serious specs and beautiful sunglasses. Their frames come in all materials, from traditional bone to contemporary Perspex, and they can tailor your prescription to any of their styles. They also have a charming little spectacle museum in their shop with vintage examples from different eras.
Just two doors down is the award-winning Senior Design Factory. As the name suggests, this is a collaboration between Zurich's older citizens, who teach skills like knitting, crochet and candle and soap-making to young designers, resulting in exciting design fusions, like knitted lampshades and sculptural soaps. They also hold workshops for the public; current course schedules are available on their website.
At their cafe/restaurant project called the Senior Design Cafe, you can see some of their waresin action; huge embellished tea cosies adorn the tables while customers lean on the embroidered seat cushions and sit on trendy reupholstered chairs. The food is great too – try the fresh all-day Z'Morge (breakfast) platter with fresh pancakes and croissants, plus a choice of cooked local organic eggs, meats and sausages and rösti (a buttery Swiss hashed potato dish).
Do not expect to find a bargain. There is no such thing as cheap in Zurich. Quality is king and Zurich's residents are often suspicious of reduced prices.
Your product is usually hand crafted by the designer from beginning to end (rare in these globalised times), so it is worth striking up a conversation with them to learn more about your purchase.