Switzerland is one of the world’s design capitals, famous for classic Swiss watches, the Swiss Style in graphic design and Le Corbusier, among others. This hand-picked list of ten designers and studios illustrates the confidence of contemporary Swiss product design and addresses issues as diverse as environmental sustainability and the preservation of artisanal crafts. Their experimental and efficient design approaches strive for design innovation at every turn, from the Alps to Zurich to Geneva.
Bureau A, the association of Leopold Banchini and Daniel Zamarbide was founded in 2012. A multidisciplinary platform, the studio aims to blur the boundaries of architectural research through its evocative and socially critical designs. Their recent project, ‘Le Chalet d’en Bas’,for the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival, took the shape of an obsessively repetitive library exhibiting the collection of Claude Nobs (founder of the festival), and explored the primal impulses behind collecting. Prepared in collaboration with curators Veronica Tracchia and Mauricio Estrada Muñoz, the immersive and experiential installation questioned the fate and relative value of the objects within the collection. The firm won the Architecture award at the Swiss Art Awards 2013 for their design ‘Parole’, a sculptural cage based on the design of the Champ-Dollon prison in Geneva. The project, scaled at a 1:24 ratio to laboratory mice, highlighted the role of architects designing ethically questionable buildings and addressed issues of prison overcrowding.