Thursday, April 30, 2020

What is Swiss design?

Graphic designers hear the term Swiss Design all the time. Yet most of us, if asked to define it, could do no better than point to a rather vague, general gestalt: crisp, blocky layouts, a minimalist design ethos, and sans serif typefaces.

In a nutshell, Swiss Design was a movement that took hold in the 1950s in two Swiss art schools, the kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, led by Josef Müller-Brockmann, and the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule in Basel, led by Armin Hofmann. Both of these instructors had studied with the great Ernst Keller in Zurich before World War II. These names will become more meaningful when we look at their work a little later.

Their style, which was called the International Typographic Style at the time, was guided by the ethos that design should be as invisible as possible. All traces of the designer’s subjectivity should be suppressed in order to let the “content” of a work shine through. It is similar to the axiom of architectural modernism that form should follow function.

Iconic Swiss designs like the pocket knife, the Helvetica typeface and the Swatch watch all have one thing in common: their combination of functionality and understated elegance.

Swiss design is characterised by a minimalist aesthetic that places functionality and attention to detail at the forefront. Its origins lie in the post-war years when simple solutions were needed to the problems that arose in Switzerland’s newly industrialising society. But Swiss design also has its roots in the country’s long lithographical tradition that dates back to the latter half of the 19th century.

Iconic examples of Swiss design include the typefaces Helvetica and Frutiger, the Rex economy vegetable peeler, the Swiss army pocket knife, the Swatch watch, the stackable ‘Landi’ chair, Eternit garden furniture, the ‘Loop’ chair, Jürg Bally’s three-legged table, the cloud lamp by Susi and Ueli Berger, and the Swiss railway clock by Hans Hilfiker. More recent icons are the Freitag shoulder bags made from recycled lorry tarps, and Nespresso coffee capsules.

Which is your favourite Swiss design item?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

In a few days - in the city - happiness - will kiss you

What happens when a bunch of friends get together with the colleagues of Taverne’s Consultati team ( They develop a Happy Words Creator aimed to make you smile or maybe even laugh thanks to a touch of imagination.

The game consists of mixing pieces of sentences expressing happiness and optimism. Each time the red button is clicked, new sentences are generated at random. The outcome could be joyful or outlandish, meditative or light-hearted. It’s up to you… or to chance, to call it.

You can share your favorite composition with whomever you wish. Perhaps a friend, your grandpa or your grandchildren, your mom or dad, your colleagues… You’ll make them smile for a while. You’ll inspire a fleeting moment of good vibes.

The best news HappyWords comes in six different languages.

Do you feel like contributing with your own HappyWords? Please send your sentences to and they’ll put them into the pot of HappyWords.

To submit your proposals please build the sentences following this structure:
When / Where / Who / What (future simple verb tense)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

World Book Day

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature. It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.

It was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.

Through reading we can open ourselves to others despite distance and self-confinement. We can travel thanks to imagination. From April 1st to 23rd, UNESCO is sharing quotes, poems and messages to symbolize the power of books and encourage reading as much as possible.

More than ever, at a time where most of the schools around the world are closed and people are having to limit their time spent outside, the power of books should be leveraged to combat isolation, reinforce ties between people, expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity. 

Click here to read a story that was created by over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world who took the time to share how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. My Hero is You:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

50 years of Earth Day

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
Native American Proverb

Earth Day was born as a unified response to an environment in crisis - oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.

As we mark 50 years, we are celebrating an Earth Day unlike any other! The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge - but also the vast opportunities - of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans (10% of the U.S. population at the time) took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. Today, people in over 180 countries celebrate Earth Day.

While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it will not force us to keep our voices down. The only thing that will change the world is a bold and unified demand for a new way forward.

We may be apart, but through the power of digital media, we’re also more connected than ever.

Over the 24 hours of Earth Day, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day will fill the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more.

While Earth Day may be going digital, our goal remains the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.

No matter where you are, you can make a difference. And you’re not alone, because together, we can save the Earth.

Visit as we build an Earth Day unlike any other and join the 24 hours of actions that you can take, right now and from wherever you are.

Click here to enter:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Expat with Kids recipes

Looking for some inspiration in your kitchen? Have some time to cook together with your kids during self-confinement? Why not check out my Expat with Kids Recipe blog?

I have a passion for cooking and a curiosity for any new recipe as long as it is easy, uncomplicated and fast to prepare. Desserts are my speciality but I can bash up a 5 course meal if I have to in a couple of hours.

I adore recipes and have been collecting them since my teens. Only few know, that tucked away I own a third blog called Expat with Kids Recipes. As of late, I have decided to blow some wind into its sails and have revamped the site entirely.

Expat with Kids Recipes are a mix of origins true to my own heritage and travels. You'll find Swiss, American, British, Italian and French recipes. My faible for the Caribbean is also quite apparent in my choice of exotic recipes.

My biggest success is definitely the Italian Tiramisù recipe but the Raspberry&Prosecco version isn't bad either. So, tell me, which is your favourite?

Click HERE, enjoy and BUON APPETITO!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Vista dalla finestra... Lugano my city!

Have you heard of the city's latest challenge via social media to discover urban corners and views, while remaining comfortably seated at home?

Discover Lugano through the window ... of others. During this moment of confinement at home, Lugano has launched a game on its Instagram profile for a “scambio di punti di vista” (to exchange points of view).

Everyone with an Instagram account can participate: just take a photo of what you see from your window or balcony and share the image with the hashtags #luganomycity and #vistadallafinestra. No doubt you'll get to discover glimpses of unknown parts of the city.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Does my child automatically become a Swiss citizen?

If a parent holds a Swiss passport their child will acquire Swiss citizenship at birth even if living abroad. According to the Swiss Citizenship Act (SCA), a child born to Swiss parents is a Swiss citizen from birth. If the parents are unmarried and only the mother is Swiss, the child automatically receives Swiss citizenship. The father, on the other hand, first must recognise the child as his own via the competent authorities.

Irrespective of the above, you must notify the Swiss representation at which you are registered regarding the birth. This is important, because a child born abroad to a Swiss parent who is also a citizen of another country may lose their Swiss citizenship on reaching the age of 25, unless a Swiss authority abroad or in Switzerland has been notified of his or her birth or the individual has declared in writing that he or she wishes to remain a Swiss citizen. For a detailed look at the SCA including amendments and related transitional provisions, visit the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (available in German, French and Italian only:

To avoid any administrative complications in future, it is advised you to notify your Swiss representation (embassy or consulate) of the birth as soon as possible. They will check your documentation and forward this information to the Swiss authorities, so that your child can be registered at the registry office of your Swiss municipality of origin.

Beware: Switzerland recognises dual nationality without restriction. Swiss law allows you to be both a Swiss national and a citizen of another country. However, some other countries do not recognise dual nationality. By acquiring Swiss citizenship, you might automatically lose the citizenship of the other state concerned.

For more information, you should contact the authorities of the state whose nationality you wish to acquire or have already acquired.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter from Paris

Our family was suppose to be in Lugano for Easter enjoying the Ticino hills and the lovely sunshine. Good food and loyal friendship were on the programme but like the rest of the world plans and routines have changed over the past month. 

It has been four weeks now that we have been in self-confinement in Paris and we are waiting to hear from the French President tomorrow night on how things will go forward...

In the meantime we are hoping to be able to return to Lugano soon and wish you and your families a very Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Optimizing a Toblerone

It all started in 1868, when Jean Tobler opened a confectionary in Bern, Switzerland. Gaining popularity, he opened a factory named Fabrique de Chocolat Berne, Tobler & Cie in 1899.

The most iconic of Swiss confectionary was first conceived in 1908 by Jean's son Theodor Tobler and his cousin, Emil Baumann who had the idea to add crushed bits of nougat to their chocolate.

The name Toblerone is actually a portmanteau of Tobler, Theodor’s family name, and Torrone, the name of the Italian nougat. Tobler + Torrone = Toblerone.

Even if the Toblerone range has expanded over the years from the original honey and almond recipe to include dark and white chocolate variants as well as one with fruit and nuts, the triangular presentation, reminiscent of the mountains, has been constant.

Indeed, the packaging is imprinted with an image of the Matterhorn and a bear as reference to the product’s city of origin.

The packaging inspired Expat Girl's math teacher to come up with this little homework project that I could not resist sharing.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Switzerland's history of stockpiling

Over the past weeks, customers across Europe have cleaned supermarket shelves with pasta, canned food and toilet rolls as the coronavirus pandemic plunged countries into lockdown, seized chains and triggered panic buying crises.

But did you know that Switzerland has one of the largest strategic stocks in the world with three to six months of food and essential goods stored within the country’s borders? The history and geography of Switzerland have anchored strategic thinking on the country’s supply chains over the decades.

Last year, Switzerland, which has 8.5 million inhabitants, kept 63,000 tonnes of sugar, 160,000 tonnes of white flour for bread, 33,700 tonnes of cooking oil (a fifth of which for dressing and mayonnaise) and just under 400,000 tonnes of specialized food for its dairy industry in reserve. They also have 15,000 tonnes of coffee beans in stock to watch them get through these tough times.

The government has regularly run public information campaigns for decades to advise citizens on how to supply their households.

The last widely distributed leaflet on the maintenance of household pantries was released just a few weeks ago: the last in a series called Kluger Rat – Notvorrat (wise advice – emergency stores) which have existed for 50 years. The Swiss are advised to have nine liters of bottled water per person, enough food to feed someone for a week, a gas stove, candles and money.

So, what have you stockpiled these past weeks?

Campaigns from 1968 and 1980

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Light is hope: Siamo con voi

With the illumination of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is sending a sign of hope to the world in the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last night the mountain village showed its solidarity with the Canton of Ticino: first reached by the coronavirus and still the most affected to this day. #siamoconvoi

Everyone can help to contain the pandemic by staying at home. Watch the spectacle on the Matterhorn from home via webcams. #stayhome

Light is hope! In this sense, the Matterhorn is illuminated during the Coronavirus pandemic - daily between 20:30 hrs and 22:00 hrs.

Click here for the best view:
To access all the Matterhorn webcams click here:

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