Danger area: Utterly free associating forthwith, connecting dots randomly.
Zermatt has many things going for it, I love to come back and I've been doing that for about 30 years now. I feel at home.
"Spaces. Spaces that allow certain things to happen. Spaces that foster people doing things."
When I cross the border to Switzerland, every time, it hits me that everything has it's place, the firewood stacks are perfectly aligned, the fields looks like well groomed golf courses, you know, the typical Swiss scenery. And I love it, it immediately puts me in a good "place". I feel at ease.
One evening in Zermatt we had a drink at the Vernissage, a gallery / bar / cinema created by a local chap, Heinz Julen. Then, stumbling out, we fell giggling through the next door which was his furniture shop / gallery.
He uses machine parts, plywood boxes and whatnot to create furniture. Like a lighted glass and steel dinner table complete with industrial hoisting mechanism to convert it into a lighting device floating under your roof. Or lower it all the way to become a lighted dance floor. Completely irrelevant. Pretty un-chalet-like.
In London or New York I would not be surprised, but in a secluded mountain village with groomed chalets, this kind of stuff? That's the best of it, the contrast, the openness to the good things, independent of being old or new. Allowing space to create, love it.
Take a look at current Swiss architecture and you know what I mean.
Another dot: Switzerland is and has been for a long time a very wealthy nation despite being landlocked and having little natural resources. Besides nice slopes and good cheese that is.
And another: Maria Montessori had as a main educational principle to "prepare the environment!", and who but a Swiss educator, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi had inspired her in her early years.
Today you'll find a "Pestalozzi" street or place in any Swiss town. Go to some neighbouring countries and you'll find the parallel places and avenues named after generals. Big difference in attitude somehow.
Switzerland, the Montessori environment for grown-ups?
Could there be lines between what Jens Christian is alluding to, the importance the Swiss puts on it's environment and their wealth?
I would not dismiss the notion off hand...