Lake Zürich is the alluring backdrop to an elegantly comfortable apartment, where everything – down to the smallest detail – has been carefully considered to make guests feel instantly at home.
This residence in the affluent Küsnacht neighbourhood, along the lake from Zürich, reveals itself to passers-by as a place whose owners are skilled at playing the perfect hosts – whatever the season. In summer, if you gaze at the upper level of the 1960s modernist block, you might spy a dapper crowd, shaded by a sunny yellow awning, milling around on the lengthy plant-laden balcony, champagne- filled glasses in hand. In winter, meanwhile, a cosy orange glow provided by the incandescent-bulb lighting, set at the perfect pitch, draws your eye.
The home was bought at the beginning of the pandemic after its owners spotted it on a balmy spring bike ride and hatched a plan to create a space imbued with a holiday feel. This has been achieved through the work of Zürich-based architect David Marquardt and the homeowners’ joyful approach to furnishing the apartment. The omnipresent views of the glistening lake help, of course. It dazzles as the backdrop to all of the main living areas during the day while at night lights from properties on the opposite side of the lake and the crisscrossing ferries provide a mesmerising twinkle.
Marquardt has maximised space in the front portion of the apartment by partially knocking down walls that once formed multiple small rooms to instead create a leisure and work area that is generously open-planned and bathed in sun all year. There are many ways to enjoy this space and entertain: guests might choose to plonk themselves on a handsome Ole Wanscher chair and gaze across a lounge area furnished with a selection of wares from Scandinavia, Switzerland, Japan and beyond. On the walls there is artwork from Gavin Hurley, Ryu Itadani, Virge, David Shrigley, Nathalie Du Pasquier and Swiss photographer David Willen.
Classic pieces of furniture blend seamlessly with new commissions within this well-appointed home. A set of army-green upholstered chairs has been custom-made by family firm Mohr Polster in Bregenzerwald, Austria. They sit impeccably in a cosy corner alongside a book-laden vintage table. Lunch and dinners are taken on a new, slender Finnish-timber dining table and chair set, designed and produced in Finland by Nikari, while a 1980s-era Louis Poulsen Visir pendant lamp dangles elegantly above.
After meals, entertaining can move seamlessly outside via one of the multiple balcony doors. Here, on the sweeping terrace, seating is provided by Fiam Spaghetti chairs, while the rich scent of homegrown tomato plants and herbs ascending from Swiss Eternit planters enlivens the atmosphere. As the evening darkness falls, the space is enhanced by the gentle glow emitted by vintage Danish Stelton oil table lamps.
When the owners need to retreat into the private side of their home, Marquardt’s clever architectural scheme allows them to do so with ease. Softly translucent glass set into internal doors means that sunlight reaches the rear section of the residence even when they’re closed. In the bedrooms and bathrooms, the architect has used a light touch to improve the quality of the building’s internal fabric. Handmade glazed tiles from Portugal line the walls of the bathrooms, while light oak fittings round off the setting.
The signature of great home design is when every aspect of the residence is used and enjoyed by those who live in it. The owners and architect of this Zürich home have taken the idea one step further, creating a place whose homely purpose is equally appreciated by guests. Whether it’s warm conversations around the built-in fireplace or a shared barbecue on the rear balcony, the sense of a quality home life is enjoyed by everyone lucky enough to make it up here from that street below.
All in the details
This isn’t the first project that David Marquardt, founder of Mach Architektur, has completed for these residence owners. His firm has worked on their cosy pad in St Moritz and company base in Zürich. Mach is known in the Swiss market for exceptional attention to detail and its work on this project is no exception. For the bathroom tiles, it sourced a beautiful hand-glazed option from historic Portuguese firm Viúva Lamego. The earthy toned clinker tiles used in the property’s kitchen and entrance area came from Germany’s abc Keramik, while the parquet flooring is by Swiss family company Schnyder Parkett and reflects the apartment’s original 1960s styling. The joinery was in collaboration with South Tyrol’s Gufler Innenausbau.
Built in the 1960s this residence sits in one of three identical apartment blocks, each containing three apartments. The buildings were commissioned by the original client for his three sons, who each received one property. The boxy modernist style of the buildings is a rare sight in Zürich today, as is the amount of landscaping that remains around the three refined blocks. Designed to be spacious (when land prices were still low), they remain a testament to a time when architecture made the most of its surrounding environment and space didn’t come at a premium.