In 2013, Switzerland was ranked the best place to be born by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Among the main criteria for this were overall health, wealth, and institutional reliability. Major cities like Zurich and Geneva are regularly named in international rankings, and while the quality of life appears to be indisputable, there’s another thing that sets the country apart: the international vibe. Lodged tightly between five countries and boasting four official languages, interacting with other cultures comes as naturally to the Swiss as the morning wind of a hand crafted mechanical watch.
In this issue, we go beyond Helvetian borders. Looking east we present Prague, a growing metropolis in a country that only recently emerged from a long term recession. In a conversation with the Harvard-bred Czech prince William Lobkowicz, we learn how the family reclaimed its former lands and properties lost during the Second World War and talk about how he’s keeping it all running in a new era. We look at the current state of affairs in fine art, and explore Artel Glass, a luxury Bohemian crystal glassware company founded by Karen Feldman of New York.
Turning south, Expo Milano 2015 opens its doors on Friday, May 1. Italy’s first universal exposition presents the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, and we’ve prepared a special dossier exploring the Swiss Pavilion as Switzerland’s concept venue on the main Decumanus Avenue. In addition, Teatro alla Scala’s collaboration with the Expo is revealed in an interview with the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli, and we take a tour of Bellavista Franciacorta vineyards in a nod to the unique collaboration unfolding between a distinguished sparkling winemaker and one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses.
To the west, Carlo Ratti of MIT SENSEable City Lab in Boston talks about open source architecture as a leading visionary and technological urban planner. We stop for a stroll around the New York Botanical Gardens, and learn how Karen Daubmann brings beauty from all corners of the world.
Back at home, Senior Editor Peter Carson talks about the evolving definition of luxury in an interview with Basel-based futurist Gerd Leonhard; and reports on The Sustainable Luxury Forum 2015 and how the luxury sector tackles business in a VUCA world.
As spring flowers start to emerge from Switzerland’s snowy ski slopes, thoughts of a warmer season are on everyone’s mind. To celebrate, we’ve prepared a special section on summer schools and camps for kids with options that showcase the country’s many natural virtues in the way of outdoors sports.
As you delve into the pages of this issue, we think you will be delighted to find a unique and moveable feast. Bon appétit.