Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris was born 125 years ago on 6 October in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Under the name Le Corbusier, he became one of the most famous and controversial architects of the 20th century. The architect enthused over “machines à habiter” (machines for living) and outlined his vision of future construction in the manifesto “Towards A New Architecture”. Thirty-five years after it was published, Le Corbusier observed that it was the book’s layout—a bold mixture of text and image—as much as its content that contributed to its impact. Swiss Style has been reconfiguring and reconstructing itself since 1992 and, from my standpoint, architecture is much like publishing; I have also come to see publishing as its own complex form of architectural practice.
As publishers large and small explore novel forms of printing and distribution, new media have created opportunities for self-reinvention, not to mention pushing the envelope. At the same time, some still believe in the importance of a hard copy. We heartily agree, and, in doing so, preserve the ranks of successful colleagues such as Tyler Brûlé who, by launching two successful print magazines (Wallpaper and Monocle), have risen above the flood of digital media supposedly spelling the death of print.
Along the lines of these beliefs, we welcome our publication’s new Editor-in-chief, Robert La Bua, a seasoned journalist with more than 800 articles published throughout the world over the past decade. As does Mr Brûlé, Mr La Bua changes continents and timezones with a startling alacrity accompanied by a laptop and a rather incomprehensible level of stamina. As we approach the twentieth anniversary of Swiss Style, Robert has been mandated to guide our publication into its future over the coming five, ten, or even twenty years…
But enough about us; what about you, dear reader? In this issue, we focus on excellence, independence, perseverance—in short, admirable qualities necessary to survive the cutthroat competition of publishing, though these days competition seems all too stiff in every area of life, from boardroom to yoga studio. Does this omnipresent competition push us to higher levels of achievement? Swiss Style takes a look at success as defined differently by different people. Whether scion of a family fortune put to good use for the betterment of the world, television star living a new life in Africa, or fashion executive taking his company to the next level of achievement, Swiss people are finding ways to push traditional boundaries in order to succeed. Usain Bolt knows all about it; though endowed with a natural gift for speed, his gift was only realised to its fullest potential through dedication and perseverance, two qualities equally applicable to the domain of business as to the world of athletics.
The purview of excellence extends beyond human ability to corporate capability as well. Looking at Park Hyatt Zurich, one of Switzerland’s most successful hotels, we see the quality of excellence used not as a goal to be attained but rather as a starting point from which to create the extraordinary in accommodation, dining experiences, or even just a drink at the hotel’s famous Onyx bar. In our special report on Morocco, we visit other fine hotels where only the best will do; among them is the exceptional Riad Enija, owned by Swiss Ursula Haldimann, a woman of extraordinarily good taste whose passion for high style is matched by another for mountain hiking.
In this issue’s photoessay, we see excellence in two spheres, one being the subjects photographed, the other being the work of Swiss photographer Marco Carocari, whose keen eye and perseverant nature elicits the best of architectural imagery for his clients.
It’s nice to see excellence still pursued by dedicated professionals in a variety of fields in times when mediocrity sometimes usurps brilliance, especially if the vice is right and the price is left as the primary consideration. Life is far too short for mediocrity.
John François Béguin