On the first leg of our annual European vacation, Miranda, the boys and I were driving along the banks of Lake Zurich, near the town of Kusnacht (home to the Carl Jung Institute and the Seeclub Kusnacht – the oldest boating club in the world, dating from the early thirteenth century) when we decided to pull into a roadside picnic stop. Appropriately, these rest stations are known as “aire” in French, and a great big fresh breath of it immediately filled our lungs.
In design terms, it was also a breath of fresh air to see how the Swiss – that notoriously rigorous race – kitted out the lush green rest zone. In the most elegantly rudimentary manner, in fact. Benches were constructed from trees felled in the neighbouring forest. Tables made from simple concrete slabs. And, the pièce de résistance, the barbeque, was an elementary, wrought metal device with a ringed hearth and a two-height adjustable grill. Artfully simple, it looked like the love child of Jannis Kounellis and Mario Merz.