Alfredo Häberli is a professional dreamer. His clients, hailing from all over the world, appreciate that about him. His designs, big or small, are all done with heart and soul. All he needs is a pencil and some peace.
Häberli’s workshop overlooks Lake Zurich. It’s housed in a sober 1970s building: concrete, glass and little spurts of green peeking out between the cracks in the brittle asphalt.
We follow him into his studio, where a breathtaking scene awaits. Steel shelves are cluttered with memorabilia and objects collected over the past twenty years: plastic spoons, comic figures, plenty of junk, and childrens’ toys everywhere. There’s an old scooter and tricycles, some of them over fifty years old. There’s fabric and plastic contorted into different shapes hung on the walls, none of which serves any discernable purpose. Lamps in all shapes and sizes, as well as an eclectic assortment of dishes, glasses, cutlery, eyeglasses, divers’ masks. A prop collection? What for? Who is this man?
Alfredo Häberli was born in Argentina and came to Switzerland as a young man. For the past 22 years, he has been living and working in Zurich. Amongst his clients is an array of European furniture stores with illustrious names such as Moroso, Kyadrat, Iittala, Alias. He designs furniture, lamps, cutlery, big things and small things–anything that needs designing. He doesn’t invent things, he says. He discovers. He is inspired by observation, which to him is the purest form of thought. He spends much of his time on the street, on his bike or in his beloved 1993 Saab convertible.
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