Le Caveau, Lausanne | Restaurant and Bar Design Awards Nominee

So… I figured it was about time I put my own work on the line here for a change. And I am so pleased because, for the second consecutive year, one of my projects has been nominated for the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards. This year my little project made it as one of 43 European Bars, right next to Karim Hashid, Minarc (The Northern Lights Bar I wrote about just yesterday!!!) and last year’s winner, Sandra Tarruella Interioristas. Talk about playing with the big boys! DesignJoyBlog_Julia_Christ_caveau_bellini_web_6 This project is very dear to me as it was quite a challenge in terms of time and budget, which pretty much determined the style and the design process. The first step was just gathering all the elements we had at hand, like the gorgeous bar stools, copper lamps, and the hotel sign. From there pretty much the only option was to go full on bohemian style! Though I have to admit I was very stressed about choosing this particular color palette. Instinctively I knew the dark tones was the right choice, but I just feel so much more comfortable working with pastels and lighter tones. The fact that it’s a bar and a cellar (no windows) made me go for the more ‘risky’ choice and it paid off. The dark tones work really well and the reflections of light on the vaulted ceiling creates a nice texture but without attracting a lot of attention to it, which is what I wanted. If a while back someone had asked me if I’d paint an entire room in metallic taupe I’d probably have laughed…

And here’s a brief description by the designer, a.k.a. yours truly: 

Located in the basement of an 18th century building in the centre of Lausanne, Switzerland, Le Caveau is the wine bar of local italian restaurant Caffè Bellini. The owners wanted to transform this space, which had been used for storage for many years, into an intimate bar and dining area to be used mainly during the winter months.

The biggest challenge was renovating a very old cellar on a budget. The floors were recuperated but unfortunately the vaulted ceilings could not be brought back to stone, instead they were simply re-plastered and painted in a dark reflective tone and different light sources to create texture. We also worked mainly with repurposed materials – such as the wood paneling for the bar and old oak for the big tables – mirrors, colourful patterns, murals and a mix of affordable furniture and more expensive vintage design pieces.

With an eclectic bohemian vibe, cheerful murals, dark tones and soft lights, the space has a unique ambiance that is reminiscent of an old school members-only club. Complemented by colourful vintage design pieces, the big comfortable sofas create intimate spaces for small gatherings, while the more convivial wooden tables and benches are ideal for bigger groups.

Eduardo Souto de Moura at Pavillon Sicli in Geneva | Design News

Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has been invited by the Maison d’Architecture to conceive an exhibition of his work, opening this week at the Pavillon Sicli, in Geneva – Switzerland. The Exhibition will show sketches, plans, models and photographs of the architect’s most important work.

DesignJoyBlog_Eduardo Souto de Moura at Pavillon Sicli

2011 Priktzer Prize Laureate, Eduardo Souto de Moura is an architectural star and, without a doubt, an important reference to contemporary  architecture. Born in Porto in 1952, his architectural style is at the same time powerful and modest, provocative, and subtle. After a 33 year career, his impressive collection of works includes some remarkable landmarks such as The Braga Stadium, the Burgo Tower and my personal favorite the Paulo Regio Museum, in Cascais.

For the lucky ones (I’m one of them yaaay!) the exhibition opens with a conference with the architect followed by the vernissage, this Thursday May 1st at the Sicli Pavillon in Geneva, Switzerland.

Thursday May 1st 2014, 18h30

Conférence d’Eduardo Souto de Moura
Thursday May 1st 2014, 18h30

Opening Hours
me / ve 11h-18h
je 11h-20h
sa / di 10h-17h

Pavillon Sicli, 45 route des Acacias, Carouge

5 + 1 Offer from Vitra | Design News

Vitra just launched this great offer for the Summer: buy 5 chairs, get one for free!


Bring the colours of summer to your table: When you purchase five chairs from the modelsJillHALEames Wire ChairEames Plastic Chair DSWTip Ton or Basel Chair between 1 April and 31 August 2014, you will receive the sixth chair as a free gift at selected dealers.

From Vitra:

The dining room table is the heart of every home: old and young, family and friends all gather around the table to eat, play, have coffee and cake, do homework, talk, celebrate birthdays, do handicrafts, work or come together for festive occasions. As a family table, it is a place of enjoyment and relaxation. It also facilitates communication. Many important daily social interactions take place at dining room tables – across all cultures, regardless of what differences may exist.

And that is why dining tables and their chairs deserve some special attention. How big should the table be? What material is preferred? What colour? And what chairs match both one’s taste and the table?

Vitra offers a wide range of dining table chairs and dining tables in an array of materials and colours. Many additional fresh versions are also now available – and since they are all part of the new Vitra colour library and feature complementary colours, they can be mixed and matched. And this means that just the right combination can be found for all kinds of dining rooms.

Via Vitra

Astonish me! A retrospective of Philippe Halsman’s work at the Musée de L’Elysée

Best known for… well… pretty much everything he has ever done, photographer Philippe Halsman had an outstanding career. For over 40 years, in Paris during the 1930s and New York from 1940 on, he photographed everyone who was anyone, in a broad range of activities, such as portraits, fashion, advertising, commissions and personal projects.


The exhibition “Astonish me!” (“Etonnez-moi!” in french), currently showing at the Musée de l’Elysée here in Lausanne, is the first study of his entire body of work and presents over 300 pieces including contact sheets, Halsman’s own notes, original photomontages and even Holiday cards. Lucky me! It’s not everyday you get to see the “bad” pictures of Marilyn Monroe, the old school ways of photoshopping or how mad it was the reality of throwing cats at Salvador Dali.

Another delightful of Halsman’s projects is the series entitled Jumpology, where he asked all the celebrities he photographed over the years to ‘jump up and down in order to reveal their true nature’.

In 1941, Halsman met his ‘accomplice’ Salvador Dali, with whom he worked in collaboration for 37 years and, together, they produced an incredible amount of artwork. As if the entire exhibition wasn’t enough to put a giant smile on everyone’s faces, as a final treat on the last floor, a video made by Salvador Dali and Halsman gives a little insight into the world of these amazing artists. I am going back tomorrow!

“In my serious work I am striving for the essence of things and for goals which are possibly unobtainable. On the other hand, everything humorous has great attraction for me, and a childish streak leads me into all kinds of frivolous endeavor.”

Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman, Astonish me!

29.01.2014 – 11.05.2014

Musée de l’Elysée

18, avenue de l’Elysée
1014 Lausanne – Switzerland
Tél. ++41 21 316 99 11
Fax ++41 21 316 99 12

All images from Philippe Halsman’s Archive

Playmobil’s imaginary museum: the work of french photographer Richard Unglik

I think there is a chance this might very well be the best thing I’ve seen… ever!


I had been dying to visit this exhibition since I first saw a poster last january in the streets of Lausanne. And  I finally made it!!! Well worth the wait, and certainly the trip, french photographer and film maker Richard Unglik’s playmobil reenactment of famous artwork is absolutely impeccable and topped up by an outstanding choice of venue.

A few years back, in the early 2000s, Richard Unglik set out  to tell the “history of the world” using playmobil figurines, a little help from photoshop and a lot of creativity. Since, he has published several books portraying this work.In this exhibition he ‘has taken History of Art’s great works and made Playmobil® scenarios out of them – the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Guernica, etc.’ by dressing them up in costumes from the famous paintings. Unglik has worked with his “world travel friend”, belgium artist Bruno Peeters, aka Brubil, to create the sets. Brubil has also made three giant models using real playmobil toys for the exhibition, one of a fortified castle and two Swiss panoramas.

The twenty large format images of this imaginary museum are on view in the Hall of Coats-of-Arms. A brilliant choice as the grandiose of this perfectly restored room gives a certain credibility to the tiny figurines, making it even more believable that the images portrayed in this imaginary museum could be real.

Beginning in April, you can also enjoy an unusual tour of the castle by a medieval guide for free! While you’re at it, check out the prison that inspired Byron’s famous poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’.

The exhibition entitled “Le musée imaginaire de Playmobil” is showing at the Chateau de Chillon until the 25th of may 2014 and it’s definitely worth the trip!

Gallery 1: All Images ©Richard Unglik Via Visual News & Casterman

All other images by Julia Christ

Ski holidays

Even though it hasn’t been snowing much here in Switzerland, “Les vacances de ski” are here! As such, it’s time to celebrate the rustic and cozy interiors of those great ski Chalets, that have come a long way from the old cabin in the woods. Nowadays modern, comfortable and airy, these mountain retreats are the best way to enjoy the joys of winter.

Pictured above:

1. This incredible Swiss Chalet designed by Peter Zumthor as his own family holiday, as seen in dezeen, is available for holiday rentals.

2. Beautiful Nordic charm in this cabin in Norway, via Planete Deco.

3. Simple chic in this modern Ski Chalet in Megeve, via Mind Sparkle Magazine.

4. A traditional Swiss Chalet in Villars-sur-Ollon is also perfect for a summer retreat in the mountains, via The New York Times.

But you don’t have to live in the Alps to give your home a modern cozy chalet charm! Even if you are not going down the slopes this season, here are a few pieces to help you bring that wonderful winter holiday feel home:


Get the look:

1. Grey and White snowflake throw by Moon Uk

2. Design classic RAR Eames Plastic Armchair by Vitra

3. Reindeer Rug by Blue Sun Tree

4. Cushions by Made

5. Solid reclaimed pine wood coffee table by West Elm

6. Sheep skin by Ikea