• Places

    a quick taste of tuscany

    Okay, admittedly, I tend to fall in love with new places pretty easily. However my new grand passion might just be with the landscape and life of Tuscany around Siena. What an eyeful of splendour! Two brief days left me wanting far more. Once upon a time I thought people were exaggerating about Tuscany just a little. From the moment we were welcomed by a committee of wild boar, however, a mother, father and a prodigious brood of 30 surrounding our car at the midnight hour as we approached Pieve A Salti, this became a weekend to remember. Even an excessively long car trip south couldn’t diminish the delightful nature of this place. Normally we’d have taken the train but it was fully booked both ways. Still we were upgraded to a pretty swish ride so our auotstrada slowdowns and unavoidable delays were more tolerable. However, the train route would…

  • Places

    back to glasgow’s west end

    Thanks to a recent work opportunity, last weekend I was fortunate enough to enjoy a couple of sun-soaked days in Glasgow. This is a city of great art, distinctive red and beige sandstone architecture and fantastically friendly people who compensate for the relative lack of sun by kindling warm conversation whenever and wherever possible. The West End, where I have family, is a particular favourite space for me. Now the Sun and Glasgow may not always be on the best of terms but this is a city that has plenty of charm whether or not the sun appears. When it does, however, the streets of the West End come alive with spirited people. So what to do? Follow me … First stop: Coffee. A must to start my day. Kothel on the Crow Road affords a welcome like very few other places. Ed Avdiasi and his cousin Ben are some dapper…

  • flat white, coffee, barista
    Food & Drink,  Places

    coffee, containers and collaboration at kraftwerk

    Recently I started co-hosting Monday morning breakfasts at the Colab location of Impact Hub Zürich. In the process of getting acquainted with the culture of this co-working organization for creatives, entrepreneurs and tech professionals I have spent a few occasions being inspired at Kraftwerk. Today I wanted to give you a peak inside this impressive space, a collaboration between Impact Hub, dıgıtalswıtzerland, ewz, and Engagement Migros a development fund of Swiss retailer Migros. Hollowed of their original intent, old industrial buildings can thrive with new power when re-purposed. Kraftwerk, the old electric works at 25 Selnaustrasse in Zürich, is no exception. An event and meeting space paired with a cafe by Impact Hub’s spinoff Auer & Co, it has all the soaring ceilings and capacity to thrill modernist lovers, and yet it’s been outfitted and softened for life in the information era with an idiosyncratic mix of oriental rugs and eclectic furniture and…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Places

    chic shopping with found + karamell

    This post is dedicated to all the great working women I know who constantly have to juggle a whole bunch of difficult tasks and responsibilities and still manage to have grace and good will even when they are sorely tested. Recently I had the opportunity to work with two very cool curators of style, who exemplify not just good taste but honest business, doing some photography and creating some signage and email flyers for a pop-up event. Amber Mahood, formerly of the financial world, is a chic working mother who has created a new brand called FOUND (FOUND GLOBAL on Instagram) which is all about conscious consumerism and living well. Let’s face it: we live in a material world, so we aren’t able to abruptly stop consuming. However, Amber aims to help us discover brands and businesses that diminish the environmental and societal impact they have on our world, and can sometimes even…

  • Mind / Body

    digital kids

    Once upon a time there was alarm about the impact TV had on developing minds. That concern hasn’t disappeared. It’s grown. Today we have tech savvy, digital kids. Parents carry mini computers in their pockets, and increasingly, their children do too. TVs were generally restricted to a room, which meant limiting access was a lot easier. Today, with the Internet, electronic media is everywhere. It’s in the schoolyard, sometimes the classroom. It’s on the bus. Smartphones and all the content associated with them,  from apps and games to YouTube and Facebook, travel with us. So when and how do we switch off? Can we? Of course as a parent it’s a duty to set boundaries and monitor the habits and wellbeing of our children. Yet how often are we as parents gazing into screens, lost in the content beamed to us by our own devices? Are we taking enough responsibility…

  • Photography,  Places

    film friday: zürich in black and white

    Recently, I decided to play with a new camera. New to me at least. In fact the camera is about as old, maybe a little older than me. But old’s relative right? Here are some of my favourites from the first roll of black and white (Kodak 400 TX negative film) I shot. The camera is an Olympus 35 SP, a 42mm F 1.17 fixed lens rangefinder. Other than some cropping and resizing for transmitting in the blogosphere I have not altered the scans in any other way. Looking at the shots it feels like time travel. What do you think? Do you like film? Do you care whether it’s still used? Does it feel more authentic, or simply nostalgic? Is it like using a typewriter to compose an email? There are more and more people using smart phones to create stunning images, but I have a prejudice — which doesn’t…

  • Art / Design / Craft,  Food & Drink,  People

    craft brewers brau syndikat: zürich creators

    It began as a challenge. Craft beer aficionado Stephan Györi (wearing glasses) wasn’t happy that Heineken was not just dominating the Swiss marketplace but the taps at the restaurant where he was a chef. So he and his friends decided to invest themselves in creating a custom beer. It was a success. Not only did he knock Heineken from the taps, now, a few year’s later, he and his partners at Brausyndikat have placed 9th in Falstaff Magazine‘s ranking of Swiss craft brewers. Today, with a proper space allocated to brew they still haven’t lost the handcraft touch, bottling and labelling their lineup of malted beverages with a decidedly human touch. Using a self-made bottling contraption which fills four bottles at a time, it’s something of a laborious process. While Philip fills the bottles, Oli caps each fresh bottle. Stephan meanwhile is strictly monitoring the temperatures on the Mash Tun.…

  • Food & Drink

    cold day, warm welcome: inä cafe

    There are days when the land seems drained of warmth, the sky of colour and any plans to find a bright spot of inspiration go completely amiss. Stumbling around Saturday was just one of those days. Perhaps I am imagining things but even the local creatures seemed to look at me askance as if to say: WTF, man, sensible people are elsewhere. We’d be indoors, given the option. Swans are usually a bit surly. However, the horse above really seemed to want to have words with me. Then I tripped across İNÄ a spot to wrap my chilled fingers around a cup coffee. Part concept store and part cafe there is a relaxed air of fun here. Then, this will no doubt surprise those of you who know me, I decided to see what craft beer was on offer. Big thanks to the über friendly folk at cafe İNÄ who also introduced me…

  • Places

    wollishofen wandering

    Wandering Wollishofen it’s hypnotic: the tick, tick, tick of its looming church clocks. Then, abruptly, it’s a jolt: the clang, bang, bong of the of the bells … awakened, it’s not: where am I? it’s, when am I? Wollishofen, a fragment, a drop, afloat in the municipality of Zürich, somehow maintains a serene, separate vibe. An echo of another place and existence. Viewed from the Eggpromenade while watched by its clock towers it is like time itself has stilled. Rolling pastures, barns, schools, playgrounds. Beautiful and eerie. Quiet, broken by a child’s delighted laugh, the bark of a loping retriever, the cluck of a hen. Afternoon sun streaking through rolling clouds and my fingers numb. What is it about this place? Perhaps, in part, it is the sense that I have been here before. Not just in the last year. Despite the lines on the clock I increasingly wonder if time…

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    fall into winter

    Light. Texture. Pattern. The way it plays out through the seasons. The way it morphs. I think I failed to properly acknowledge the transitioning from autumn to winter this year. A process that should not go unobserved, outwardly or inwardly. The way the warm soft golden green hues give way to blue grey tones and cycle once more back into the world, and, ultimately, into you. Wander into wonder. The mystery, is ever present. Spring approaches, and with it, a another shade of the same beauty. Revel in the shift.