My inner equilibrium

The last few weeks have been demanding and exhausting. I learned from this that I have to do more for myself. Maintaining an inner equilibrium and just taking a break from everyday life and relaxing. So i decided to treat myself to complete relaxation.

28° 7′ N / 15° 25′ W

Royal comfort
After only a 20-minute drive from the airport, a truly majestic and impressive view of the «Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel» in the centre of Las Palmas in the north-east of Gran Canaria opens up in front of me. I’m actually here! Being close to the centre, I can go shopping, visit the old town and eat out. Being close to the beach, I can treat myself to sun, sand and sea. But this shouldn’t be all. The colonial-style park in front of the hotel affords me a clear view of the latter and the impressive pool area. I am immediately aware of the charm of the hotel as soon as I enter the hotel lobby – greeted by authentic friendliness, I immediately feel welcome and well cared for. This friendly colonial style is reflected in the room.

Pleasure on all levels – gastronomically as well as optically
Before I go to «La Bodeguita» for dinner, I explore the park in the middle of the city in which the «Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel» is located. Lined with beautiful plants, extensive water features meander through the grounds. I treat myself to a drink before dinner in the Carabela Bar. The classic atmosphere, paired with the finest cava, sweetens the unobstructed view of Dormas Park in front of the hotel. The pianist contributes to the fact that I, in turn, completely immerse myself in the comforts and just enjoy it. At dinner, I treat myself to a selection from the menu. Of course I start with Jamon Iberico. A must in Gran Canaria. Surprisingly, the waitress recommends that I add cheese. This is a specialty of Gran Canaria. What is also surprising is that it is served on every occasion – not just at the end of a meal. As an absolute wine lover, I let myself be served with beautiful wines from the Canary Islands. I’ve never drunk any of these, but now I’m a true admirer of Canarian wines.

Ah, how beautiful life can be. Perfect location, fantastic weather and then the culinary delights.

Good morning Las Palmas
It was a restful night, so I go to breakfast full of energy. I fortify myself with everything my heart desires in the middle of the park that surrounds the hotel. This is how a day can start. Invigorated and in a good mood, I go to the old town in Las Palmas. A 25-minute walk takes me to the historic city centre. The houses express their history and each one is special in its own way. The cityscape is also unique. The houses are colourfully painted, each one different. This produces a colourful cityscape – as colourful and diverse as my trip so far.

After returning to the hotel, I check into the spa and let myself be massaged properly. My back and neck are in dire need of treatment. Relaxed and loosened up muscle by muscle, I head to the rooftop, where I treat myself to a nice drink by the pool. With a view of the park and the sea, I relax and let my thoughts wander into the distance.

Relaxed and rested, I’m ready for the culinary highlight of the «Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel». The Poemas restaurant, which has been awarded a Michelin star.

The restaurant is the brainchild of brothers Juan Carlo and Jonathan Padrón, who present an 11-course tasting menu with convincing elegance, inspiring connoisseurs with its lightness and precision. The service provided, highly professional but in no way formal, guides the guest through the menu. The sommelier accompanies each individual course with regional wines from Gran Canaria in such a perfectly coordinated way that the entire evening becomes an unforgettable experience and can compete with the most renowned restaurants in the world.

At the end of the set meal, the actual star of the show visits our illustrious group. Icíar Pérez, who enjoys the trust of the Padrón brothers as Executive Chef, answers questions about her thoughts. What is impressive is that Icíar Pérez is only 28 years old and is already showing off her skills at such a high level.

Side note:
The oxtail sandwich with fermented pepper mayonnaise ranks among the top 3 dishes I’ve ever eaten.

360 sunny days a year
The high number of sunny days, combined with an extremely pleasant climate, encourages you not only to devote time exclusively to the culinary temptations, but also to enjoy the diverse landscape. So I decide to take a tour, the Royal Experience, to the north of Las Palmas. There I visit a market that was built in a former water reservoir, to purchase regional products. A visit to a cheese factory owned by the cheese world champion of 2009 makes me realise once again how rich the island is in terms of culinary delights. Cristóbal Antonio Moreno Díaz is an original who produces his sheep’s cheese using traditional methods and with a lot of passion. During a stopover at a reservoir in Artenara, I take a lakeside picnic that is second to none. The crowning and majestic end of the tour is a visit to the Artenara area, where I get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the Agala winery, which grows the vines at altitudes of up to 1,318 m and produces fresh white and red wines from them.

Las Palmas – see you soon.

Photos Copyrights: Santa Catalina Royal Hideaway

The Designer

Sebastian Marbacher belongs to a new breed of prominent Swiss designers. His word has received several awards and encompasses the interplay between (product) design, art and architecture.

He designs furniture, products and rooms. His objects are accessible, always suitable for everyday use and often have minimalist lines without losing their playfulness. Sebastian Marbacher is a creative inventor, an aesthete. Born in Lucerne in 1986, he initially completed an apprenticeship as an engineer and followed this by studying industrial design at the Zurich University of the Arts. In 2013 he founded Studio Sebastian Marbacher in Zürich and, in addition to his own projects, works successfully with well-known companies and institutions. A conversation about reduction, chairs and artistic issues.

Sebastian, let’s start at the beginning: Which memories do you consider to be formative for your creative career?
Maybe that my father always had a workshop and often worked with wood. In one house we lived in, the kitchen, workbench and fireplace were all in one room. For me, cooking, sitting together at the table and working belong together to this day.

Talking about sitting together – chairs are a very common feature of your work …
That’s how it’s turned out over the years. When I first started, I never had the idea of designing a chair. In the course of my search, however, I keep coming back to the subject of ‘sitting’. For me, chairs are also a good size as an object. You can carry, rotate it and hold them. This simplicity and independence of chairs represents something exciting for me.

Simplicity as a keyword – your work is minimalist and yet there is something playful about it …
I’m actually interested in reduction, but not to the point where there’s nothing original left. I’m interested in reduction in order to extract what seems essential to me. Clear lines and compelling stories.

Like your Basic Chairs, for example?
Yes, in fact, at the beginning there was the question what‘s needed to sit? How minimal can the seat and backrest be? In addition, I was excited by the idea of finding a geometry that would allow stacking. The design then developed over several prototypes.

Originally an engineer, mechanical draftsman, now designer and scenographer – how has your questioning changed over the years and what challenges you?
In mechanical engineering, the cheapest and simplest solution is always sought. I had a lot of fun with this. But today, for me, it’s about opening up completely. Everything is possible and I often work with many different variants at the beginning. That’s a whole different challenge. What interests and fascinates me is the question of what is functional. Does the function come first or can an object communicate or even annoy first of all?

And what makes a task particularly exciting for you?
Difficult question, I think the variety and multiplicity of projects is most important. Location-specific projects are always exciting challenges for me. New places and people and framework conditions.

Upcycling of materials is always a theme with your objects. How important is sustainability?
On the one hand I am a designer, on the other hand I am a consumer. In both roles, I make decisions that involve considerations of sustainability. For example about materials, short transport routes or production facilities. The Basic Chair is produced for Switzerland and Italy, for a Japanese label in Japan itself.

In the face of abundance – as a product designer, don’t you start to ponder?
Designing new products is of course part of this controversy. You see the mountains of rubbish and the things that cannot be repaired. However, if you develop a new product that can be manufactured or operated three times more efficiently with regard to resources or energy, then that is a positive step.

Let’s get to your latest project. Rumour has it that it has two wheels?
Correct. It’s a collaboration, but I can’t reveal too much about it just yet. It’s about a bike that combines the advantages of small wheels with the advantages of a large luggage rack. I am convinced that the «bicycle» as an umbrella term still offers a lot of potential if we look at the changes in society with the inner cities and the large number of people.

You also work regularly with your partner and textile designer Mara Tschudi. What’s it like, working and living together as two creative people?
Since I’ve known Mara, there’s been an exchange in both directions. Her world of colours plays an important role in my projects. We come from different disciplines and complement each other very well in the sense that my work is very analytical, planned and derived. And from a human perspective it’s extremely valuable that we can just share that and understand what the other is about.

Finally: How much furniture is self-made in your home?
Some of it. And there’s a long to-do list of projects (laughs). Our interior is actually an ongoing construction site. For me, this is also a kind of field research without the pressure of having to present a result. And you can only be completely free if you know that you can also fail.

Photos Copyrights: Dominik Zietlow / studio sebastian marbacher

Curtain up!

The Sanders is Copenhagen’s first luxury boutique hotel. An elegant venue that combines the glamorous age of travel with the drama of the theater. 

Denmark – copenhagen / Dänemark – Kopenhagen
55° 67′ N / 12° 58′ 0

He felt at home in the Royal Danish Theatre for many years, and now the Danish ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin has made a new home for himself, so to speak, around the corner from his former place of work. Since the end of 2017, the luxury boutique hotel Sanders has been welcoming its guests in the historic centre of Copenhagen. But the former insiders’ tip has now become a real hotspot – but has lost none of its tranquillity, elegance and quality. «Walking into the Sanders is like walking into a theatre», says Kølpin himself. Guests will always be the focal point, but the set design and carefully curated interiors will provide the elegant and exquisite backdrop to their experience. The passion, generosity and professionalism of our staff will coordinate the enactment to offer our guests an unforgettable experience. The entire building has an elegant mise-en-scène. Stylish but understated luxury meets lovingly designed retreats. The 53 rooms as well as the «Sanders Kitchen» restaurant and the «TATA» bar give you the feeling of being welcomed into a friend’s home as soon as you enter.

The roof terrace is open all day and offers a great view of the Danish capital’s old quarter. And in the inner courtyard you can enjoy an apéritif in the late afternoon after a tour of the city. The design of the hotel was influeced by Alexander Kølpin. Together with the London studio Lind + Almond and the founders of the Kølpin Hotels Group, which also includes the Sanders, they planned and implemented every detail of the building. What particularly pleases the former ballet dancer is the fact that many locals are also regulars. They like to drop by to enjoy a cocktail at TATA or a culinary highlight in the restaurant. «The mixture of international hotel guests and locals makes for an interesting dynamic,» says Kølpin. «We are neither complicated nor formal. We want to be simple and focus on the quality of the products and the ambience.» And that is exactly what has been achieved in a unique way for five years now. A warm welcome!

Photos Copyrights: Sanders Hotel

That’s what’s up!

Where actually is hope?

Almost unnoticed, a small but subtle depression has entered our luxurious suburban villa. Just like the lousy weather of the last few weeks, it slowly crawled up the walls and settled in the corners. At a time of war being fought so visibly in the middle of Europe, a pandemic that has just been overcome, and with the next economic and banking crisis already looming – is anyone surprised if mental health has taken a back seat?

The first step to fixing a problem is to identify it! We need some momentum in the pad, so I roll up the sleeves of my RRL shirt and wait for a spark of inspiration! When Adam, my can opener and housemate, comes home from work hours later, I’m still standing and trying to organise my thoughts. Meanwhile, a certain hopelessness has spread and is beginning to grip my heart icily. This eternally bad news – I’m so sick of it! How is a tomcat supposed to handle all this?

Adam has probably been standing for quite a while and looks on with concern as I stand in our living room, as though rooted to the spot, staring blankly, just like a living decoration. After a half-hearted attempt to cheer me up, he finally disappears into our luxury spa bathroom. In the meantime darkness has fallen and I stare silently into the blackness. Hope hasn’t made even a brief appearance, it’s stayed where it is – nowhere to be found. Suddenly loud music comes from outside. «Grönemeyer kann nicht tanzen,» bellow Die Ärzte from a car radio, and the beat of the music takes up residence in my ears immediately. Suddenly my toes start to wiggle. The music slowly awakens me from my stupor and pushes away the resolute cold. Excitement slowly rises from the icy ground into the tip of every single hair. Then I start to move, tapping out the beat with my tail, making irregular movements and finally sweeping through the room with wildly flailing arms and seemingly spasmodic motions. Grönemeyer can’t dance? But I can and I dance away all the frustration from my tomcat soul. In an expressive display of contemporary dance, I jump, roll, fall, rise up, tumble around … I stretch my arms to the sky, my breathing is unrhythmic, my gaze maniacal. The living room is has been left in complete confusion, but my negative thoughts have disappeared. No more musty melancholy! What a relief, I am infinitely grateful for the moment!

Adam stands in front of me like a ghost in white silk pyjamas and stares at me with huge eyes. Loud music blares from the stereo. «Have you lost your mind?» he blurts out. «No, hope, but I found it again,» I reply impatiently, like everyone in the know. Adam looks at me in horror. «But, what’s the matter?»

«This is the matter!» I spit out, laughing diabolically into his surprised face, slam the living room door and continue dancing, gesticulating wildly. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t capitalise on my experience. Just hours later, our hobby room has been transformed into a dance hall with a powerful music system. With the euro sign in my eyes, I rub my paws and eagerly post «hope» on all channels of the World Wide Web.

Copyright Illustration: Manuela Dona

Copyright is for losers

His name is known around the world, but few know who the street artist Banksy actually is. Those who know do are keeping are silent. And the man himself? He gives people reasons to talk about him …

A long line of people is standing in front of Hall 622b in Zürich-Oerlikon. People full of anticipation, curious people. Because they all want to see the current exhibition featuring around 150 works by the world’s currently most high-priced artist. We’re talking about Banksy. Internationally known as one of the best street artists in the world. And a mystery. To this day there is only speculation as to who is behind the stencil graffiti with its huge recognition factor. So it is fitting that the exhibition in Zürich is entitled «The Mystery of Banksy – a genius mind. The unauthorised exhibition». Because when an author does not officially insist on his rights, authorisation is difficult. Banksy is a phenomenon. One with influence.

An exceptional talent from day 1

He is an exceptional phenomenon and his anonymity, which has been preserved for decades, of course makes that even stronger. In addition, he is absolutely direct. His art is always socially critical – and has been from day 1. The first works appeared in Bristol, England, as early as the 1990s. Initially, Banksy worked here with other graffiti artists. Then, thanks to fellow artist «3D», he discovered stencil art. Or to put it in his own words from an anonymous interview: «When I was about ten years old, a boy called 3D was the first to bring spray paint to Bristol. So I grew up with it and graffiti was what we all loved at school and did on the way home from school.»

He created his first large mural one night in 1997. It was entitled «The Mild Mild West». It was an image of a giant teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at three police officers. The legend of Banksy was born. And it was clear to everyone that this artist is hiding behind a pseudonym, but hardly anyone denounces capitalism, society, the economy, politics, cultures as blatantly as he does – and people celebrate that, at least for the most part. The first rays of sunshine in the morning suddenly illuminate smooching police officers in Soho, a girl with a gas mask in Barcelona or a pair of scissors on a border wall in Israel. Cynical wit paired with humour, as his style is often summed up. And a style that receives worldwide attention.

His identity is practically a state secret

The fact is, there are people who know who Banksy is. Starting with 3D, who by the way is now the front man of the band Massive Attack under his real name Robert Del Naja. But the fact is that all these people are keeping silent. It doesn’t matter whether it’s his first companions or active artists, musicians and creative people who know him personally. And that bothers a lot of people. Among other things, the Daily Mail has undertaken extensive research into who is behind the pseudonym. Based on this, scientists at Queen Mary University in London used forensic and static methods to track down Banksys. Incidentally, methods that are actually only used in the search for serial killers and serial offenders.

Both the Daily Mail and the university researchers came to the conclusion that Banksy is the British artist Robin Gunningham. But Gunningham himself is having none of it. Others believe that 3D is Banksy, again various different comparisons were made when it came to where the band performed and where new images appeared. In 2003, Banksy also gave an interview to ITV News correspondent Haig Gordon. With a baseball cap and a T-shirt over his nose and mouth, he says, among other things, in the 35-second-long appearance: «I’m covered because you can’t really be a graffiti writer and then go public.» And Gordon himself insists that although he saw his face, he can’t remember it.

Headstrong and yet in the spirit of the community

What Banksy thinks of commercial art is anyone’s guess. But on the other hand, he has also made his views more than clear. Starting with the fact that he renounced his copyrights, with the statement «Copyright is for losers», to the day he destroyed one of his most famous works after it had secured the highest bid. No sooner had the hammer fallen at Sotheby’s for the «Girl with Balloon» for an amount of EUE 1.2 million when a shredder built into the picture began to destroy the work. Due to technical problems, it was finally only half disassembled into its individual parts. Fun fact: three years after the incident, the half-destroyed picture came under the hammer again under the new title «Love is in the Bin». And found a new owner for EUR 18.9 million.

Certainly, both the lack of copyright and transferable ownership rights mean not all the proceeds go to Banksy. Nevertheless, he earns a decent sum. And he wouldn’t be Banksy if he didn’t know how to use that for his own convictions. For example, in May 2020 he had his painting «Game Changer» hung exclusively in a hospital in Southampton and then auctioned off to benefit the National Health Service in the wake of the Covid pandemic. At that time, the highest price ever paid for a Banksy painting was EUR 19.5 million. The artist is also the financier and originator of the sea rescue ship «Louise Michel». This bears his drawings and is used to rescue refugees who try to cross the Mediterranean Sea in rubber boats and in so doing get into trouble.

And the story goes on …

Banksy is now believed to be in his late 40s or early 50s. It is therefore likely that new surprises will await people under his name in the coming years. It’s rather doubtful that he will one day appear in front of a camera and reveal his identity. And that’s actually a nice thing in an age when people promote their lives and their loved ones on every social channel going. Incidentally, those waiting in Oerlikon all agree.

Photos Copyrights: Dominik Gruss, Getty Images

A “rock cristal” for that feel-good feeling

Four Stars, an impressive spa and genuine hospitality, the “Bergkristall” resort in Oberstaufen invites you to pamper yourself. And offers comprehensive support at a very high level.

As is so often the case, big things start out small with great attention to detail – and that is also how it was with the Bergkristall resort in the Allgäu. More than 50 years ago, Hans Lingg and his wife Hedi opened a small guest house on the local farm. Word got around quickly, although in addition to the hospitality, it was also their knowledge of the best regional dishes that inspired people. More rooms were quickly made ready to show holiday guests one of the most beautiful sides of Bavaria at an altitude of 850 metres: the Allgäu. The establishment has been known under the name Bergkristall since 2018 and with its extensive range of facilities it can justifiably call itself a superior four-star hotel. The hotel is currently managed by Hans and Hedi’s son and his wife, who now welcome the guests together with their own children and their partners.

The complete package

For the Linggs, being a host means offering a stylish retreat. An oasis of pleasure – for the spirit, for the soul, and to recharge your batteries. In the 2,700-square metre SPA, the crystal is the main protagonist, after the guest, of course. That’s why the motto «Out of love for me» is the focus of everything. A highlight is certainly the wavebalance® room, in which nature’s energy fields can be meaningfully enjoyed in the form of water, sounds and touch. To remind themselves to always do something good for themselves, each guest receives a personal crystal after a treatment. In the restaurant, head chef Andreas Krohn also conjures up à la carte dishes every day in line with the 80/20 principle. Which means no sugar and no white flour, but absolute enjoyment. On request, simple, vegan fare can also be provided, which aids purification and detoxification.

For individualists

And of course top dog Hansi should not be forgotten. As the secret ruler of the Bergkristall, he and his flock make sure that everything matches expectations. Which brings us back to the famed hospitality. Everyone is welcome in the hotel, and everyone is treated as an individual. Starting with the choice of room: classic single and double rooms are available as well as a penthouse or fitness suite. Before each treatment in the spa, you can have a discussion with a therapist to work out the most suitable option. And yes, the cuisine is still Bavarian, but with even more creativity and lightness. Because even if this small hotel has grown into the colossus it is today, the attention to detail is still an integral part of one of the best wellness hotels in Oberstaufen.

Photos Copyrights: Hotel Bergkristall

In the morning, straight after getting up, look out at the magnificent mountain panorama and breathe in the crystal-clear air. This is the pinnacle of pure relaxation.” 

 Germany – allgäu / Deutschland – allgäu

47° 31′ N / 10° 14′ 0

Adam’s Bucket List

A breath of fresh air in Vienna’s top gastronomy. The 2 toque-awarded Restaurant Walter Bauer, in Vienna’s 1st district, has now been taken over by Marcus Duchardt, a toque-awarded chef with German/French roots. His credo is: “The best from local forests to the open sea. Culinary art at the highest level, interpreted in a contemporary way.”

The taste, to which they consistently aspire, has been refined with two stars. Kevin Romes and Pascal Hobler stand for reduced cuisine, an intricate craft and re-interpreted tradition.

Michèle Meier knows how to interpret the best products in a groundbreaking way and to prepare them with love. Inspiring, fresh and at the same time authentic cuisine awaits the gourmet.

Young, talented and self-assured. The products originate for the most part from the surrounding area, a number of them even from Rickenbach. Dominik Hartmann and his team surprise and charm their guests with their fine tasting presentation from the region.

Fotos: © Peter Schuhböck,, Skin’s, Lucide, Magdalena

Special Edition from Zenith


For this next race of the 2022 Extreme E championship, the teams are heading far off the beaten path to South America, a first for the electric rally racing championship. One of the world’s foremost copper mining areas and one that is incorporating an innovative and sustainable approach to its operations, the Atacama Desert, Chile, sets the stage for the unveiling of ZENITH’s third special edition watch commemorating an Extreme E race. The DEFY Extreme E Copper X Prix, a limited edition of 20 pieces, combines carbon fibre and titanium with earthy tones that recall the copper mines of the region, while incorporating recycled and upcycled elements from the championship.

Inspired by the world of extreme motorsports and conceived with ruggedness in mind, the DEFY Extreme E Copper X Prix is designed to take on the electric rally’s thrilling off-road courses in some of the world’s most remote environments. Based on the DEFY Extreme Carbon, the world’s lightest and most robust 1/100th of a second automatic high-frequency chronograph, the DEFY Extreme E “Copper X Prix” incorporates upcycled elements from the championship with the back-to-back races’ official colour of warm coppery-brown.

The DEFY Extreme E “Copper X Prix” edition is crafted in lightweight yet highly durable carbon fibre, including the crown and chronograph pushers. Emphasizing the boldly angular geometry of the case, the pusher protectors as well as the twelve-sided bezel are made in microblasted titanium.

The open multi-layered dial consists of tinted sapphire crystal elements, embellished with coppery-brown accents that evoke the dry, rocky terrain and copper mines of the Chilean desert. Partially visible through the dial as well as the sapphire case back is the fastest automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre in production, offering 1/100th of a second time measurements, with two escapements independently beating at 5Hz (36’000 VpH) for the timekeeping part and 50Hz (360’000 VpH) for the chronograph function. The movement is also visible through the sapphire display back, emblazoned with the Copper X Prix logo.

Bringing sustainability and environmental awareness to the forefront of ZENITH and Extreme E’s partnership, the DEFY Extreme E “Copper X Prix” is delivered with a rubber strap infused with materials of upcycled Continental CrossContact tires that were used in the first season’s races. Matching the Copper X Prix copper-brown accents on the dial, the Velcro strap features a black rubber central element surrounded by a brown cordura-effect rubber inlay. The DEFY Extreme E “Copper X Prix” is delivered with two additional straps in black rubber and black Velcro, which can be easily swapped without any tools by using the case back’s ingenious and intuitive quick strap-change mechanism.

The DEFY Extreme E “Copper X Prix” comes packaged in a suitably sturdy waterproof and crushproof watch case inspired by the extreme conditions of the rally, incorporating various upcycled elements from the side-lines of the first season’s races. The case’s lid coating is made from E-grip recycled tires, while the plate covering is made from parts of an Extreme E racing tarpaulin.

The DEFY Extreme E “Copper X Prix” will be made in a limited edition of only 20 pieces and will be available exclusively at ZENITH physical and online boutiques around the world.


ZENITH exists to inspire individuals to pursue their dreams and make them come true – against all odds. Since its establishment in 1865, ZENITH became the first vertically integrated Swiss watch manufacture, and its watches have accompanied extraordinary figures that dreamt big and strived to achieve the impossible – from Louis Blériot’s history-making flight across the English Channel to Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting stratospheric free-fall jump. Zenith is also highlighting visionary and trailblazing women by celebrating their accomplishments and creating the DREAMHERS platform where women share their experiences and inspire others to fulfil their dreams.

With innovation as its guiding star, ZENITH exclusively features in-house developed and manufactured movements in all its watches. Since the creation of the El Primero in 1969, the world’s first automatic chronograph calibre, ZENITH has gone on to master high-frequency precision and offers time measurements in fractions of a second, including 1/10th of a second in the Chronomaster collection and 1/100th of a second in the DEFY collection. Because innovation is synonymous with responsibility, the ZENITH HORIZ-ON initiative affirms the brand’s commitments to inclusion & diversity, sustainability and employee wellbeing. ZENITH has been shaping the future of Swiss watchmaking since 1865, accompanying those who dare to challenge themselves and reach new heights. The time to reach your star is now.

The Poetry of Fragmentation

Wallace Chan at the Biennale Arte in Venice

Whether he is creating intricate, opulent jewelry with precious gemstones or monumental sculptures made of titanium – the works of the Chinese artist Wallace Chan always convey his Buddhist philosophy. His exhibition “TOTEM“ can currently be seen at the 59th Biennale Arte in Venice. We met him in the city of the lagoons for an exclusive interview. 

Bettina Krause (BK): What is the concept behind this exhibition?
Wallace Chan: Visitors are invited to move through fragments of a ten meter high sculpture. The theme is uncertainty – in the darkened exhibition room it is difficult to ascertain how the fragments can be reassembled. Generally we look at sculptures as a whole from a distance, we move around them and the inside remains concealed. I wanted to open up this idea, so the observer can see the inside of the sculpture and become a part of it. They move through the fragments, which I call Totems, form a bond with them and acquire surprising, uncertain perspectives again and again.

Has this concept become a symbol of our world order?
Correct. We are currently living in extremely uncertain times but it is my hope that the fragments of the sculpture – and of our world – can be pieced together again to form an intact whole. So that the process of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction become complete.

So are you optimistic about the future?
At the moment our world is waiting to be repaired again. I believe that the world and we as people have the strength to heal ourselves. However, we have to work at it. The exhibition is a symbol of these connections and is deconstructed and reconstructed at different locations worldwide. In its current state it is reminiscent of strength and the possibility to heal and find balance again.

What does the title “TOTEM“ express?
The concept of a Totem is our attempt as people to establish a connection with the unknown. It is simultaneously our hope for something greater outside our reality. My earliest childhood memories include artistic carvings of dragons, phoenix and wondrous creatures at Chinese temples. The belief is that we are connected to the Gods because the figures are carved in the temples. The idea of the Totem is our attempt to enter a world that is unknown to us, to enter the uncertain.

What can visitors take with them from the exhibition?
The objective is to reflect on the process of deconstruction and reconstruction of ourselves: What is our self? What makes us what we are? Are we the person we seem to believe or are we beings formed by society? We live in a time of information overload and are bombarded with information. Sometimes we think it is a part of us because we absorb the information unfiltered without reflecting on our own existence. I think this is a good place for contemplation and to reflect on the idea of our own self – where it originates and where it goes.

Can art contribute to overcoming the crises of our time?
Yes, because art has the power to help us to transcend. Whatever we are currently experiencing in the physical world – it gives us the possibility to dream of a better, higher, more beautiful world full of good. I believe in the power of art and I cannot imagine a world without it. Without art there is no hope. 

TOTEM by Wallace Chan
April 20th – Oktober 23rd, 2022
Fondaco Marcello
Calle del Tragheto, Venedig

Photos Copyrights:  Massimo Pistore

Spa in a class of its own

Five-Star Spa Hotel in the Volcanic Landscape of Iceland

Moss-covered plains, hot springs and rugged earth – the terrain in Reykjanes, a peninsula in the southwest of Iceland, is as rustic as it is exceptional. Situated in the middle of an 800 year old lava field, the five-star luxury hotel “The Retreat Blue Lagoon Iceland“ celebrates its proximity to nature just as much as its promise of ultimate pleasure and comfort. 

The view of the bizarre and impressive landscape from 62 minimalistically designed suites at the Blue Lagoon can only be described as breathtaking. There is no need for a television in the rooms. When constructing the retreat the Basalt Architects were guided by the natural lava formations found there and consistently adapted their designs to the original landscape. “Nature was the guideline. We often felt that every location was a game of chance“, says Sigríður Sigþórsdóttir, founder of Basalt Architects. The architects were also inspired by nature when designing the exclusive interior. The atmospheric 40 to 200 square meter suites radiate authenticity and peace to the same degree as safety and warmth. From nest-like armchairs and smooth bed linen to afternoon tea in the lounge or the excellent service – the hotel diffuses an overall feeling of well-being.

Exclusive Private Lagoon

The highlight when staying at the Blue Lagoon Hotel is the spacious, subterranean spa area with its dark walls of lava stone that emits a deep sense of being connected to nature. In the blue lagoon the 35 to 40 degree warm and up to 1.40 meter deep water shimmers with a bluish light. The lagoon, which lends the hotel its name, was formed near to the Svartsengi volcano from geothermal seawater; which not only feels soothing due to its high salt and mineral content – it actually has a healing effect. The Blue Lagoon ritual pampers, cleanses and rejuvenates the body with silica sand, algae and minerals. The in-water massages are also a unique, revitalizing experience. Those seeking seclusion can book the private Lava Cove, optionally with butler and private chef. The features of this splendid suite include a private 35 square meter lagoon with terrace and fireplace – heavenly peace inclusive.

Dining on the Lava Cliff

The view of the exceptional volcanic landscape and the nuances of the moss-covered expanses that change with the weather conditions is not the only highlight when dining in the evening at the Moss Restaurant. The exquisite delicacies on the plate are also inspired by the Icelandic mountains, fields,
rivers and the sea. The chef’s table gourmet dinner comprises of 7-courses of fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, served on the massive lava stone table. When you visit the Blue Lagoon Hotel time seems to stand still for a while. The closeness of the fascinating natural beauty is ever-present: The view from the hotel terrace of the bewitching color spectacle of the Northern Lights in Iceland is unforgettable.

Photos Copyrights: The retreat at the Blue Lagoon Iceland