Hidden among the quaint cobblestone streets of Zürich’s historic old town is Limited Stock, a pared-back paean to original, handcrafted design pieces – many sourced within Europe, some from as far afield as India and Japan – each limited in its availability. Opened in 2005 by sculptor Hubert Spörri and exhibition designer Ulrich Zickler, it was the discovery of this 19th-century blacksmith’s atelier that spurred them into business. “The courtyard and garden here are very special, and we knew the space would provide an ideal setting for the kind of beautifully individual things we like,” says Spörri.
Inspired by the aesthetic of artisan jeweller and porcelain maker Ted Muehling, who, says Spörri, “balances old and new, the living and the dead”, Limited Stock offers similar juxtapositions. Contemporary fittings are contrasted with the mix of original materials, as bare industrial lightbulbs illuminate wooden floors, a vast exposed stone wall and the esse – or fireplace – where the blacksmith once forged steel. Sitting side by side on simple square display tables are exquisitely elegant Lobmeyr Adolf Loos drinking glasses (from SFr85, about £65 each) – designed in the 1920s and distinguished by their diamond-cut bases – and a series of hand-forged Japanese hammers (from about £35) “that together exemplify a mix of strength and fragility”.
Ceramics are a strong focus. “Each piece has its own aura and is very practical yet anything but basic or ordinary. This appeals to Swiss tastes,” explains Zickler. Japanese artisan Kiso Shimao’s handmade plates and serving bowls (all from about £60) are singled out for their multigreen Oribe glaze that gives them an appealing heterogeneous quality, while Korean potter Young-Jae Lee’s vases (about £1,400) and bowls (from about £350) possess a softer pastel-hued aesthetic.
Small piles of folded textiles – handwoven pashminas (from about £300) from Kashmir, embellished with delicate bright or white silk thread, and coolly modern charcoal-dyed Uchino towels from Japan (from about £30) – are lit by a dazzling 1960s Lobmeyr chandelier (about £9,500), originally designed for New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. Large splashes of colour come from baby alpaca throws and pillows (from about £375) by Suzusan – “made for us in a special bouclé in colours that resemble a Rothko painting”, says Spörri – and reversible Moroccan Berber carpets (from about £600), “each with a fluffy surface for winter and a flat side for the warmer months”, says Zickler.
Completing the collection are Susanne Kauffman’s modish botanical serums (from about £85) and bath oils (Witch Hazel Bath, about £30 for 100ml), blended close to the Swiss border using wild herbs and flowers. “We don’t have a particular buying strategy; we choose from the gut,” says Spörri. “People come in for a special gift and we’ll find something fitting and unusual. If you are looking for something specific you might not find it, but if your eyes are open you will see many wonderful things.”