In partnership with Zürich Tourism
Christmas in Zurich is synonymous with lights and fireworks, the more-ish seasonal aromas of spicy sweet hot chocolate, mulled wine and cinnamon. Christmas markets – Niederdorf, Wienachtsdorf, Werdmühleplatz, and Christkindlimarkt – hum with activity, while the Limmat river plays host to the annual Samichlausschwimmen, where 300 people, many in Santa Claus costumes, take a freezing dip for charity.
This is the Zurich Christmas – a celebratory contradiction of happiness, positivity and artful absurdity, of fairy lights and darkness, roaring fires and winter chills, romance and reflection, advent and art.
Zurich’s Pop-Up HOTEL NOËL – The Christmas Paradox
This year, there’s a new twist to a stay in the city. The Pop-Up HOTEL NOËL – The Christmas Paradox project has invited ten Swiss artists to capture Zurich’s unique winter moods with a series of ten specially created hotel rooms.
At the B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa, in the former, lovingly converted Hürlimann Brewery building, Luca Süss, winner of the Niarchos Award for Young Art in 2021, has styled a suite that marks the season of goodwill by drawing on their penchant for discombobulating installation and cartoonish collage.
Madame Tricot has taken a room at Guesthouse Kalkbreite; Ingo Giezendanner is at the Pop Up Hotel Krone Zurich; Veli & Amos’ work will check in for Christmas at the Neues Schloss Privat Hotel Zurich; and Olaf Breuning is the artist in residence at Hotel Rössli.
A nod to shooting stars from huber.huber
Across town in a large room at the lakeside Ameron Zürich Bellerive au Lac, local talent huber.huber – actually twin brothers Markus and Reto Huber, who choose to identify as a single artistic entity – offer their alternative view on Christmas. Known for their photographic collages, drawings and innovative installations the duo’s yuletide paradox is a pensive environment of comfort and joy, hopes and fears, shooting stars and dark skies. It expresses the notion that in the putative idyll of Christmas, the abyss is always lurking.
‘We were inspired by a poem,’ they explain. ‘Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Nachthimmel und Sternenfall” (Night Skies and Falling Stars) and the idea that shooting stars can be beautiful and luminous but also might bring fear and the potential of destruction in the form of meteorites.’
Central to huber.huber’s collaboration is a hanging mobile of small and silver-sparkly rocks, collected from the Campo del Cielo (Field of the Sky), the site of a huge meteorite strike in Argentina around 6,000 years ago. Now transported to Switzerland, at the Ameron hotel, the black but glistening minerals hang from the ceiling like a body of dark stars.
‘We chose to put the rocks in the room because in modern times, scientists now believe that the star guiding the wise men from the east to the stable where the baby Jesus was born was actually a meteorite. So the concepts of beauty and disaster are actually very close during Christmas,’ say the pair, adding a note of brightness. ‘Now anyone who sees one of these celestial bodies can silently make a wish.’
Black lights and light-deflecting silver foil at the windows, photographic collages of nocturnal butterflies and night-time forest snowfalls, fauna and flora spray-painted black with the world’s blackest, dimension-blocking paint all add to an atmosphere that engenders both reflective pause and wintery joy.
‘We wanted to ask questions about humanity,’ say huber.huber. ‘Inspire people to take time to think about how we are surviving in this crazy world. Encourage a feeling of purification and connection. Celebrate the melancholy side of the season. The light and the dark.’
A very huber.huber Christmas awaits visitors to Zurich this winter.
For more information visit noelzurich.com
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