Salon Suisse




Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia


Venice, Italy


Collateral Event of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia


Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer


Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, Venice

Project lead:

Esther Reinhardt

Graphic design:

Brigitte Lampert and Katharina Hofer

Media partners:

Das Magazin; Specialist journals TEC21, Tracés, archi /;; werk, bauen + wohnen


Laufen Bathrooms AG; Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction; technologycluster-zug, V-ZUG Immobilien AG; Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA); USM U. Schärer Söhne AG; Cassina


Image credits:

Swiss Federal Archives, Berne; Swiss National Library – Prints and Drawings Department, Berne; Swiss National Museum, Zurich; Fondation Franz Weber, Montreux; Green Party of Switzerland Kanton Zurich, Zurich; Verein Alpen-Initiative and Swiss Museum of Transport, Lucerne; FSA Federation of Swiss Architects

Photo credits:

Rachele Maistrello

The next 100 Years – Scenarios for an Alpine City State

Complementing the exhibition at the Pavilion of Switzerland at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia organized a Collateral Event entitled «Salon Suisse». The «Salon Suisse» is a programme of talks and events offering a platform for exchange on contemporary architecture and thought in a relaxed atmosphere.

The «Salon Suisse» of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia was curated by Hosoya Schaefer Architects, who have put together an ambitious programme of events focusing on questions around urban development in Switzerland and the increasing pressure of urbanization worldwide.

A detailed programme of the «Salon Suisse» is available here.

The events were modelled after a Constitutional Assembly and serve as a thought experiment in critical urbanity. Projecting the Biennale’s preoccupation with the last century into the future and using the historic arc of the Venetian city state as a backdrop, how can the next 100 years be envisioned in an increasingly urban and volatile world? What would a contemporary conception for Switzerland be in this context? If it had to be founded today, what would be its guiding principles, its business model and its social contract? And how could architecture and urban design support such an endeavour; to what extent do these disciplines need to be political?

To discuss these questions the curators invited thinkers, practitioners and activists to envision such a state and ultimately a physical environment inspired by but without the gritty detail of today’s political reality.

The opening event took place on June 7 2014 as an «Inaugural Session» accompanied by a brunch. During this initial short statements from Swiss and international practitioners on possible «Scenarios for an Alpine City State» were collected as a missive for the Salons to come.

The First Salon (4 to 6 September 2014) «Design – The Nature of Cities» established a shared understanding of cities and of the state of the contemporary urban system with the participation of urban geographer Edward D. Soja, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, complex systems scientist Didier Sornette or anthropologist and activist David Graeber amongst several others.

The Second Salon (9 to 11 October 2014) «Build – The Reality of Cities» questioned how urban ideas become reality. The discussion included politicians, entrepreneurs and practitioners such as Japanese architectural planner Yasuaki Onoda and the urban designers Jan Gehl, Marc Angélil and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto among others.

The Third Salon (30 October to 1 November 2014) «Use – The Culture of Cities» approached the theme of how culture emerges within a city. The speakers included author and co-founder of Neustart Schweiz Hans Widmer as well as co-founder Hannes Gassert. Norihito Nakatani and Jiang Jun, contributors of the Japanese and Chinese pavilions respectively, discussed their research on more traditional forms of collectives with among others Mark Leonard, Co-Founder and Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think-tank.

The «Final Assembly», the closing event of the «Salon Suisse» 2014 (20 to 22 November 2014), had its focus on summarizing and editing the results of the Salon in collaboration with writers and journalists such as Lukas Bärfuss or Finn Canonica who accompanied the entire series by recording and intervening.





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