Neue Räume Zurich 2011

The final stage of our 2011 autumn tour took us to Neue Räume Zurich, Switzerland’s largest designer furniture trade fair.

And quite possibly Switzerland’s most bemuddled designer furniture trade fair.

We do appreciate that the organisers are trying to make Neue Räume all things to all men, and offer a wide range of products, producers and design directions.

And we really liked what the organisers were trying to do.

But somehow squeezing so much into such a relatively small space just didn’t work for us.

Either they need to expand the space and give both the exhibitors the room they need to show their collections and the visitors the space they need to digest everything. Or to focus better.

Switzerland needs a sensible designer furniture trade fair, not only because it is part of a region with a long design tradition and some truly excellent producers; but also a series of high quality, local European designer trade fairs is a central part of our plan to free the furniture design community from the rotted compulsion that is Milano.

But at the moment Neue Räume isn’t it.

A wonderful example of why it isn’t was the “Design in the City” programme which saw objects from producers exhibiting at Neue Räume being placed in shops around the city.

Nice idea.


When, for example, Shell from Röthlisberger Kollektion is placed in a downtown clothes shop, we need to be told. Otherwise we all look at the jumpers and walk on. And are none the wiser that the jumpers were in such a delightful piece of contemporary product design.

The programme simply wasn’t interactive and inclusive enough and didn’t really seem to know who it was meant to be helping. The producers? The retailers? The Zurich population? Us?

As we say, neue Räume is a nice enough trade fair. Just lacking a clear and consequently implemented plan.

That said the trip to Zurich was definitely worth it and in addition to finding a couple of interesting new objects and producers we also partook in a few very interesting and entertaining chats with some of those involved. More soon.

The real highlight however was seeing “Tape” by studio numen/for use transformed into “Flying Carpet”

Extending and transforming the tape based structure developed for Vienna Design Week 2009,  Sven Sonke, Christoph Katzler and Nikola Radelikoric have created a truly delightful carpet based, warren-esque, public seating system.

We’d really like to use a butterfly/metamorphosis analogy but that would be too obvious.

We’ll be publishing more from Neue Räume Zurich in the coming days, but for now a few quick photos……

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