Talk of the town
My finger tips glide softly over the smooth surface of the natural stone. I try to reconcile the visual effects, the dynamic structure and the colour with how it feels; I am trying to make sense of it. I scan the open-worked, floral-looking doors with my eyes. They open and the light floods into a room which is waiting to seduce me and my sense of taste. My gaze wanders upwards: The elegant wood parquet on the ceiling confuses my sense of direction. The sensations which flood over me are intoxicating and overwhelming. In EXCEPTIS INTERIOR DESIGN, nothing is as you expect, but everything is as it should be.
To be honest, I am usually rather reluctant to use superlatives; their meaning can quickly wear off and they become meaningless platitudes. But here they really are appropriate. What is on display in EXCEPTIS – the Widmer Wohnen and Real-Stein showroom in Zurich – is really quite exceptional. Wandering through the rooms, going on a tour of discovery, being open to unconventional yet liveable living solutions is fascinating and something that I am only too happy to throw myself into. In EXCEPTIS, you can immerse yourself in a realm of inspiration and mastery. I am amazed at Dany Widmer’s remarkably consistent facility when it comes to developing an overall concept, uniting a wide variety of materials, needs and artistic forms. The careful selection of outstanding collaborators, often market leaders in their field, is what guarantees the top quality that we see on offer here. At the same time, a single source provides customers with everything. This is clear as soon as you enter the place, as exciting woodwork meets shiny natural stone surfaces, from which the counter monolithically rises. Just a few steps away, a highly polished wooden boat turns out to be a bathtub. It is just one example of the custom-made items which have been created especially for the showroom. The 350 square metres of the exhibition are spread over three interlinked levels, resulting in a Gesamtkunstwerk which it is hard to tear yourself away from. The synopsis presented fires the imagination and challenges your own boldness to make these ideas come into being in your own home or office. Since opening in August 2018, the ‘living worlds’ of Widmer Wohnen and Real-Stein have been causing a real stir. People have come from near and far, interested in visiting this impressive place of creativity, which is constantly off the beaten track, showing what is possible. What has become a realm of possibilities here – very close to Paradeplatz – is without equal anywhere in the world.
Widmer Wohnen and Real-Stein have developed the premises on Bleicherweg in Zurich into a set of amazing home interiors, showing all possible variations of what modern living and working can, and should, look like. One example of this is the spacious living room, the centre of every home, where everyone comes together, family and friends meet and a space for relaxation and being social is provided. The clearly designed seating in the middle of it all invites to experience togetherness in an intimate setting. Once again, my gaze wanders upwards and I am amazed at the opulence of the expressive grain on the wooden ceiling, which contrasts so brilliantly with the light natural stone of the floor, generating an atmosphere of harmonious balance. A fascinating motif, which is also repeated in the other rooms. As a connecting element, the extravagantly patterned wooden panels on the walls really draw you in. What’s more, the textiles are also honoured in a rather special way – whether they be transparent in front of the window, fluffy on the floor or exude elegance – allowing you to come to rest. This place also gleams with dainty accessories and lamps with just that little extra touch. Echoes of nature and the exotic complete the picture. With this interplay, Dany Widmer has created a residential island which fully satisfies both the need to be together and the need to be alone.
Widmer Wohnen does not just create gorgeous surroundings to live in. For them, it is just as important to design high-quality offices, studios and work and meeting rooms which provide the right atmosphere for creative work, inspired thinking and the shared development of ideas. Here, customers can welcome people, have discussions and achieve common goals. Or the desk becomes a place where you can get on with doing some quiet work on your own; a workshop for achieving outstanding results. Designing rooms for this purpose – with both public and private functions – is a key issue, as this is where so much of life takes place. Customers who come to EXCEPTIS find their requirements met in full – they get their furnishings just as they had imagined them to be. That lies at the heart of what Widmer Wohnen and Real-Stein, and all the partners who have joined forces in the EXCEPTIS showroom, aim to do. This is how the transparent elements have come into being, separating yet combining individual areas; massive, exquisitely treated wood seems to float and offers a foundation for successful work.
I walk down just a few steps and am immersed in a landscape of stillness and relaxation. The soft colour compositions which Dany Widmer has created for the bedrooms and bathrooms exude peace and elegance. Everything is light, spacious, and yet warm. Here, you can feel secure and find the sanctuary you need. My breath is taken away by the impressive combinations of material, from copper fittings, alabaster-like floating sinks, framed stone wall cladding, glittering crystal lighting concepts and interwoven fabric arabesque. The structures and colours of the selected stones – in lovingly detailed work by Walter Alberti of Real-Stein and gathered from around the world – form organic, lively surroundings which have both an invigorating and a relaxing effect. Wooden surfaces harmoniously designed, discreet and distinctive fabrics and elaborate accessories define an ambience in the boudoir style. Exceptional pastel tones shimmer between cream, sand, rosé and gold. An artistically designed creation as an intimate realm of your own life. Caring and attentive.
The exceptional designer, Dany Widmer, has an extraordinary talent for showcasing unusual room concepts. His ability to make full use of his masterful abilities as a craftsman forms the basis for what he does, whether he is working with stone, treating wood or building furniture. He lets master painters execute the colourful wall designs. They understand how to achieve the perfect processes and building up colours using traditional methods in order to create special surface structures. He loves to play with the senses, creating aesthetic charm by means of optical illusions. Is the staircase made from wood or from stone? It is made from a natural stone called Violet Bamboo. Is this wall painted or is it actually made from stone? Real-Stein creates spectacular patterns by putting stones together using the Macchia Aperta technique, playing with all the different possibilities which natural stone has to offer as a material. Unusual materials such as bronze are also used to make the furniture. Following an exciting visit to the EXCEPTIS showroom, you can really understand why its interiors are causing such a stir.