May 31 2012
I’m an early bird. By 8am on Saturday I’m running along the banks of the Rhine from Johanniter Brücke to the striking 1950s power plant in Birsfelden, where I cross the bridge and run back along the other side. Running is a great way to discover a city – for example, when I’m working in Miami during the fair.
Back home, I have a shower and a smoothie – I usually skip breakfast – then stroll into the centre of Basel, where I’ve lived for 10 years. I enjoy the atmosphere of the fleamarket in Petersplatz and sometimes buy ceramics and books. I love graphic novels, especially Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis series, which I buy at Comix. For design and architecture books I go to Stampa, a contemporary art gallery with an excellent bookshop. I’m interested in fashion and often pop into Set & Sekt, an avant-garde boutique that stocks Acne and Maison Martin Margiela and always has nice jewellery. Another favourite is Jil Sander’s store.
I’ve loved visiting museums since I was a child, and I like to go by myself because they’re places where I can get totally lost and forget everything else. I’m spoiled for choice in Basel. I particularly like the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, which specialises in contemporary art and is beautifully situated close to the Rhine. There’s also Fondation Beyeler with Renzo Piano’s architecture and wonderful modern work, such as Rothko, Giacometti and Calder. And there is Schaulager, an academic institution built by Herzog & de Meuron, which has just one public exhibition each year.
Movies give me the same experience of total immersion. Basel has five art-house cinemas for French, German, Spanish, Scandinavian, UK and US movies. More often than not, I’ll go to the Stadtkino, which has themed programmes.
If I don’t go to the cinema, I’ll go to a concert with friends. I like electronic, pop and indie music at places such as Kaserne, but also classical. The piano is my favourite instrument – I often play at home – and the Stadtkino has concerts, too, where the Basel Symphony Orchestra and Sinfoniette perform.
I rarely cook because my life is so irregular, but fortunately my friends are great cooks and so I often have supper at their homes. Otherwise, we eat out at Rhyschänzli, a typical Swiss restaurant where my favourite dish is nüsslisalat with egg and bacon. Then I love the desserts at Kunsthalle, which becomes the gastronomic and after-dinner epicentre during Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel.
After my Sunday morning run I tend to head out of town. What I really enjoy about Basel is its location at the intersection of Switzerland, Germany and France. It’s easy to take a tram to France or a bus to Germany. There’s a great fleamarket at Belfort, France, and I combine this with a visit to the peaceful Ronchamp chapel designed by Le Corbusier; or I drive to the Vitra Design Museum in Germany to see an exhibition and have lunch at the VitraHaus Café.
I’m very curious. I like looking at things. Whether that’s a mass-produced plastic bottle or a one-off design, I think they all matter. So I also like to catch one of the latest design shows at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, which stages exhibitions of historic material from its impressive collection, but also challenges contemporary product, graphic and fashion designers to present their current work in a novel way.
Sunday evenings are spent reading the weekend newspapers and listening to Austrian national radio, O1, via the internet. I make a simple supper, then invariably catch up with emails before Monday.