Cult shop Many interesting pieces at the Swiss shop, Elastique, come from the less popular decades with some suprisingly chic results.
An eye for hidden style
Behind the three wide plate-glass windows that line a quiet street on the slightly "wrong" side of Zürich, a row of three Charles Eames 1960s airport seats sits near a lacquered leather Aldo Tura sideboard; a pair of 1970s orange plastic side tables by the Dutch company Nebu jostles with a 1950s standard lamp by Belmag, a brown Harry Bertoia Diamond chair and a two-metre long Danish rosewood dining table with dark green leather chairs; a 1965 Louis Weisdorf Turbo lamp lights a set of coffee table and low stools made of old tree roots, their tops polished to perfection, the sides still in their "brutal" raw state.
It's an eclectic collection but it has clearly been chosen by someone with a very good eye - and a sense of humour for, among these fine examples of 20th-century design stand Snow White and her dwarfs in brightly painted ceramic, a life-size leather bulldog and several bumper cars from a 1950s fairground. The genesis of Elastique was its owner, George Küng's, "mania" for collecting - furniture, musical instruments, comic books - which began about 12 years ago and rapidly became "a bit of an obsession".
He finds most of his stock in Switzerland. "It's a great source," he explains. "Switzerland was so much better off than the rest of Europe after the Second World War; people here bought things - really good quality, well-designed furniture and lighting. And then - maybe it's the Swiss character, a bit - they held onto them for a long time and looked after them well." Küng doesn't limit himself to midcentury. "So many people have been buying it and there isn't much good stuff around at interesting prices any more," he says, adding that, if you know what to look for, the less popular decades from the late Sixties onwards can produce some real treasures.
Treasures such as an immaculate 1980s black leather sofa by Paolo Piva for de Sede and a rare 1968 piece, Safari, a white fibreglass semicircular seating arrangement upholstered in leopard-spot fabric, by the Italian architectural studio, Archizoom. Very Régine disco; very Austin Powers. Grüngasse 19, 8004 Zürich; +41 44 242 0054; www.elastique.ch