Situated in the beautiful neighborhood of Seefeld, a few steps from the Zurich lake, the stark, calvinist style building is about 100 years old. Sacha has lived there for three years, he considers himself lucky to have found a jewel in such a tight real estate market. Sacha is an English and Italian teacher, but his true passion is set on food ; he also gives cooking lessons and keeps himself busy baking a pie while I take photos. The bright peaceful place is as dark as it gets when I visit ; it’s raining cats and dogs. Yet, the beauty of the decor is striking, the slowly acquired art collection bathes in low, soft lighting and the place feels like a heaven of calmness, being in the heart of the city, minutes away from the Bahnhofstrasse. Sacha’s love for art materialized with a first acquisition seven years ago : a gift from Swiss-Iranian born artist Shahryar Nashat, he now has several other paintings or installations from in his flat. He also holds great fondness for the artist Manon, who first came to prominence in the 1970s with the installation « The Salmon coloured boudoir » (1974), she also happens to be Sacha’s neighbor ! One finds more than a few photographs by the artist throughout the apartment. In the dining-room, as well used as a work space to prepare for his classes, the beauty of the André Arbus gold leaf table is only emphasized by the large Verner Panton lamp above it. The dining chairs were found on the street next to a dumpster. Adjacent is the living-room, above the couch hangs an interesting series of small pencil drawings by Polish artist Mariusz Tarkawian, reproduced scenes he happened to see, draw as he would write in a diary. Everything is perfectly tasteful, not one false note here, an African sculpture next to a large photograph, a delicate table by Louis Sognot on top of which lay ceramics by Uwe and Inke Lerch, a nice mix, yet every piece has a story, an anecdote linked to it. Sacha likes London, to go see musicals, but even more so Italy, Tuscany, he visits both countries regularly.
When did you move to this apartment and did you have to make any renovations ?
I moved here mid August 2011 after having waited months for the Landlady to finally chose me over an other candidate. The house was meant to be for single middle aged women and I was, as a neighbour once told me, a revolution in the building. I didn’t have to do anything as the flat had just been renovated. At the time it was probably the only renovated flat in the whole building. What a luck!
Tell us about your view on interior decoration ?
I like feeling different emotions in different spaces of my flat. When I am in my dining room I feel quiet and concentrated. This is in fact the place where I work and I like this room to be wearing delicate, discrete and peaceful colours. The art at the walls is rather precise and plain in its lines as it is its furniture. Every single piece here makes sense and has found its own place. On the other hand my living room is the place where I relax, listen to music or watch videos. I have many little objects lieing around, cards, vases, sculptures … This is the place where I feel free.
You love cooking, did you always cook ?
There is something meditative about it – I can safely say that cooking is my yoga. During the week I cook at least one full meal a day whereas at the weekend I can spend hours in the kitchen trying out new interesting recipes by Tanja Grandits – my favourite Chef at the moment and have my partner taste my new creations. That’s something I adore doing. When I was a child my older brother was as good as useless in the kitchen which meant I had to be in the kitchen when our parents were off working. I learnt a lot from my mother, some things from my father. Now my way of cooking has taken new directions.
When did your begin collecting art and tell us a bit about your favorites pieces ?
Everything started 7 years ago in a gallery in Zurich when I was standing speachless in front of a picture by Sinje Dillenkofer. In the reflex of the plexiglas I saw my partner coming and saying: ’Do you like it? – Buy it! I’ll lend you the money’. At the time it was quite an amount and I would never have been able to afford it. But I decided to accept his generous offer and follow his example and advice. It took me months to repay it, but it was worth it! I then did the same with almost all my other pieces, which actually means I had debts with my partner for a while. He allowed me to put together the collection I own today. I don’t usually like playing favourites with my pieces. I go through phases and at the moment I particularly like sitting at my new Andre Arbus table and watching my whole flat from there, especially a work by Mimmo Rotella. The passion in his technique is just stunning.
Which piece could you not live without ?
All of them!!! Perhaps I am a materialist, but all my objects are a piece of my life, they have been chosen and have come to live with me. As my good friend Walter once said: ’Furniture and art want to be loved’ and I do love them, I love what they represent to me – choices, a rare privilege.
You have a real passion for Manon; who is she and how do you know her ?
Yes, she is without a doubt my favourite artist and I could spend hours talking about her. Manon is feminity, she’s courage, power, surprise, timidness. She is timeless. Manon is sensitivity, she’s nature. To me a mixture between melancholy and passion – between Autumn and Summer. She is my neighbour and I once wrote her an email admiring her work and asking for an autograph on all her books. To my surprise she kindly wrote back and since then we have been in touch. Should I chose one of the most meaningful piece in my collection, that would be ’La dame au crane rasé 1977-78’, a piece Manon gave to me for my birthday. A very touching moment, setting the beginning of a special and uncommon friendship.
Your favorite travel destination ?
That’s easy – Firenze! and Tuscany in general which we visit for a month every year.
A great address in your neighborhood ?
Mythenquai 20, 8002 Zurich. Loma –GmbH gallery. A beautiful selection of art and design – and a great host!