Christian et Meret, Zurich

Christian et Meret, Zurich

The building, built in the 1900’s,  was originally a horse stable. In the 70’s it was turned into mechanical workshops. Located in the up and coming neighborhood of Wiedikon, which many artists, photographers and designers have made their home, it retains its industrial style and the building’s ground floor is still used as workshops. The neighborhood remains a somewhat affordable area with a good mix of different cultures and nationalities and a large jewish community. Today, the top floor, converted into several lofts about 15 years ago, is home to Christian Kaegi, his partner Meret and Hannah, the couple’s 2 year old daughter. They have lived here for the last 4 years. From the street, stairs lead up to a long outdoor balcony, where tenants have installed tables and chairs in a row, one after the other. « It’s a wonderful meeting space, we have dinner out here in the summer or play with Hannah and neighbors coming home will inevitably sit with us for a chat », tells Christian. The duplex loft, about 140 square meters, consists of two vast spaces linked by a staircase. The bright entrance, where everyone leaves their shoes, also houses some storage in the form of old lockers and metal chest drawers.

The challenge was to find a way to divide and privatize the huge open space. Very cleverly, Christian & Meret found two solutions ; one was to build a small house to serve as Hannah’s bedroom, the second to build a two-level podium, on the highest part of which nestles the couple’s bedroom, it can be partially closed off from the rest of the room with a curtain. One step down and a vintage sofa and armchair face a bookshelf filled with reading materials, an old turntable is used to listen to vinyl records. Upstairs, immediately to the left, the dining room faces a large window adorned by trees and greenery. Right behind it, Christian designed and built a dressing on wheels, structure easily movable when they have friends over and decide to double the size of the table. Only enclosed room in the loft, the bathroom separates that space from the kitchen, situated at the other end of the room. On the side, a lovely lounge area, set up with a couch by Patricia Urquiola, is an invitation to relax. Meret is a footwear designer, she works for various companies such as Clarks and Puma, she travels a lot for her work, mostly to London. Christian is a talented industrial designer who along with his partner Fabrice Aeberhard, is part founder and owner of AeKae Design, studio that produces amongst others the two flagship profucts : VIU, revolutionary concept of eyewear and Qwstion a ligne of fantastic week-end and day bags. He also teaches master product design at ECAL.

Christian and Meret

What are some advantages and disadvantages of living in a loft ?

It’s difficult to have friends overnight, we really don’t have a guest room. Also when we entertain, noise can be a problem when our daughter needs to go to bed. Hence Hannah’s « box » dowstairs ! We built a little wooden house within the house so that we could make some privacy for her and ourselves.

How do you two approach decorating your own interior and how would you describe it ?

It evolves all the time ; we like to go to exhibits and furniture stores, we look and talk about art or design, things we have seen that caught our attention. We both had design pieces we really wanted, some we were able to acquire over time. The Tom Dixon kitchen table was something we had been admiring for years, we take our time and talk about it.

What do you favor in terms of materials and has something new caught your attention recently ?

We both like raw materials, the touch and feel of a material is essential. Plywood with extreme texture, mixing different types of wood. Recycled leather, but what is really exciting in footwear are the new techniques of molding for materials.

What is your source of inspiration in industrial design ? One, or several, designers you admire ?

Life in general is inspiring, keeping your eyes open, walking in the woods or in the neighborhood, people watching at airports !! Really it’s all about what we need : that’s our real source of inspiration, to fulfill a need.

Tell us about your favorite travel destination, are travels a good source of inspiration ?

We cannot say we have a favorite travel destination, we both enjoy large cities : New York, Tokyo, London…but we also like to go rest in Formentera off-season. Traveling for work offers a completely different view and experience of a place than when one travels on vacation.

A good address in Zurich for food and one for fashion ?

« Maison Manesse » is fantastic, but that’s a place we don’t go to often…! A great little place is « ristorante Italia » where we can bring Hannah and have a good, casual meal.

An object or a piece of furniture to which you are particularly attached and why ?

Christian suprised me with the beauty of the changing table ! I had been complaining that nothing we owned worked, I didn’t like the look of regular changing tables and did not feel like spending a lot of money on something we were just going to use for a few years. This one is perfect : it will become a regular chest of drawers once Hannah stops using diapers.

How did you find this place ?

Our neighbors are friends of ours. We were looking for a loft and every time we visited them we would think the space was perfect for us, of course we had told them if ever a space was to become vacant to let us know !