Zürich City Guide

Text by guest editor Valeria Crescenzi

Zürich is a lot more than a bankers’ city. It’s a very international cosmopolis in the heart of Europe, an enigmatic city that takes time to get discovered in its inner essence. Zürich is surprisingly full of gems when it comes to talking about design places and this city guide takes you on a tour among the best design addresses in town.


A pastel green and dusty rose building overlooking the Sihl river, the Helvetia Hotel is a microcosmos hosting an iconic GaultMillau restaurant, three bars (Helvti Bar, Pool Bar, Rooftop), the Sihlterrace and an art library. The rooms (37) have a contemporary yet warm style with handcrafted beds and curated finishings. Expanded in 2017, the interiors are a mix of contemporary and dandy chic details that create a cosy ambiance for city explorers.


Bebek is a beautiful spot for oriental cuisine appraisers. The name originates from an upscale district in Istanbul but it also means «baby» in Turkish. Try their «mezze». Vegetarian and vegan options available.


Located in Seefeld, the Monocle Café is an elegant spot serving the best in local baked goods and is perfect from breakfast to after-work drinks. It also has a shop and a kiosk with a selection of international magazines.


QWSTION means Swiss sustainable bags and accessories made of organic cotton canvas or Bananatex®, a fabric obtained by banana plants. Here you can also find clothes, furniture, and objects made by local and international designers.


In the alleys of Niederdorf there is a historical, intricate store called Neumarkt 17 that sells timeless design furniture. Must see: its subterranean space with metal grids suspended over a reflecting pool.


High-quality and a bright color palette characterize the pottery by Marcel Krummenacher of Studio Sediment. A real hidden atelier away from the touristic routes where you can attend ceramic workshops during your stay.


Print Matters! is the place to go if you are looking for international magazines. One of the very few shops of such kind in Zürich, it graduated to a permanent location thanks to crowdfunding. Run by Maurice Müller, it hosts presentations and public readings.


Just a few steps away from Helvetiaplatz, Soeder* store is for all of you looking for natural care products and everyday basics made both locally and from carefully sourced producers in Switzerland and Europe. What you’ll buy here respects the highest standards possible in terms of sustainability.


Reopened in 2018, the Museum für Gestaltung hosts design exhibits. The building in Ausstellungsstrasse is an example of Neue Bauen in Switzerland and has been built in the 1930s. The design museum has other two locations: the Toni Areal and Le Corbusier Pavilion.


Once an electrical substation, the Haus Konstruktiv is now a museum that specializes in constructive and concrete art with exhibitions changing every three months. A nice café provides a place for a coffee break and the small shop is perfect to buy non-touristy souvenirs.

And if you plan to be in town between August 29th and September 1st, 2019, here are our handpicked events not to miss:

  • – The second edition of the Design Biennale Zürich, born to foster awareness about design and its role in Switzerland. This year’s topic is «Play». More information here.
  • – Kontext Annual 2019 by Swiss Textiles, an interdisciplinary event presenting business cases and relevant topics in the textile design industry. More information here.
  • – Mode Suisse talks, shows, and workshops about the Swiss fashion industry. More information here.

Photogaphy : courtesy of each place

Monocle Café : ©Samuel Zeller

Haus Konstruktiv : ©Stefan Altenburger (indoor views) and Peter Baracchi (outdoor view)