Travel to the ideas: 5 trips to architecturally inspired places

Susanne Loacker

If the ideas don’t come to you, you will simply have to travel to the ideas. We propose five excursions that are sure to inspire you.

The Le Corbusier pavilion made of steel and glass; in front of the building a lawn can be seen with trees behind it.
© ZHdK

In this article

1. Le Corbusier pavilion, Tiefenbrunnen, Zurich

The Swiss architect Le Corbusier published a manifesto in 1927, which he entitled “Five Points of a New Architecture”. In it, he anticipated many things that have since become important in the 21st century, such as ensuring the compatibility of open spaces and high-density construction – which was of course not called that at the time.

Le Corbusier built several pavilions. One of them, his last significant building and the only one made of steel and glass, is located on Lake Zurich. He designed part of the house to be functional, including a kitchen – although it was never planned that the pavilion would be inhabited. Zurich Museum of Design has managed the colorful building as a public museum on behalf of the city of Zurich since 2019.

The pavilion is open from May to November. If you don’t want to come to Zurich specially, you can also take a virtual tour of the Le Corbusier pavilion, which lasts about 45 minutes.

View into a museum room in the Le Corbusier pavilion. In the foreground is the Le Corbusier LC4 lounger, behind it are sofas and armchairs also designed by Le Corbusier.

Minimalist and linear: at Zurich Museum of Design you can admire contemporary modern furniture – such as Le Corbusier’s LC4 lounger.

2. Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein

In the extreme southwest of Germany, where the country borders on France and Switzerland, lies Weil am Rhein, which is widely known for its Vitra Design Museum. The museum holds temporary exhibitions which provide insights into past and present architecture.

Until the end of February 2021, “Home Stories” presents a hundred-year summary of visionary interiors: the exhibition illustrates how social, technical and political developments and changes have affected our living environment. Inspired by your visit, you are sure to find your first new furnishings in the museum shop.

3. Hôtel Palafitte, Neuchâtel

Pavilions on stilts were built in Neuchâtel on Lake Neuchâtel for Expo 02, the Swiss National Exhibition in 2002. The buildings were intended as a reminder of the pile dwellers who lived in this area: between Biel/Bienne and Yverdon-les-Bains there are 22 recognized UNSECO World Heritage sites.

Today the pavilions in Neuchâtel have been turned into a luxury hotel. If you treat yourself to a night there, you will experience how the pavilions, which appear quite small on the outside, suddenly seem larger on the inside thanks to skillful use of perspective. You can’t take the lake home with you – but you will go away with some good ideas.

4. Gewerbemuseum Winterthur

Design, art and everyday culture – these are the elements brought together by the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur. The lovingly curated, alternating exhibitions always devote themselves to a specific topic, but then liberally stray from it. Visitors are in for plenty of surprises. The greatest common denominator of all the exhibitions is the museum’s love of materials, whether conventionally or unconventionally used. The publicly accessible material warehouse will inspire you – mostly to do something you hadn’t even thought of before.

5. teo jakob, Bern

In 1914, Mr. Jakob Senior founded an upholstery and wallpaper business, which was taken over by his son Theodor Jakob in 1950. Soon the name was not only a brand, but also synonymous with Swiss interior design. In 1970 Teo Jakob received the “Oeuvre” award – in recognition of his consistent promotion of modern interior design in Switzerland. Although Teo Jakob died in 2000, his name lives on as a brand. In addition to the original shop under the arcades on Bern’s picturesque Gerechtigkeitsgasse, there are now five more locations throughout Switzerland, each more stimulating than the last.

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Conclusion: inspired by travel

If our selection of architecturally inspired locations hasn’t inspired you enough, why not take a personal look at the five design highlights. Maybe you will find the perfect idea for giving your house or apartment a new look. We hope you will enjoy planning your project.

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