Heinz Julen

a Catalyst for Ideas

Text Daniel Bauchervez / Photo David Willen
Date of publication Winter 2019-2020

Architect, interior designer, furniture designer, hotelkeeper, contemporary art apostle, and artist in his own right, Heinz Julen wears many unconventional hats. This winter, he is opening a new space that blends design with an invitation to explore.

Bahnhofstrasse 7 b. If there was a Monopoly board of Zermatt, this address would no doubt be found in the dark blue sector, the most chic of them all. Right in the heart of the village, just off the main pedestrian street and next door to the luxurious Hotel Schweizerhoff, Heinz Julen’s newest storefront offers a full panorama of Julen’s creations. Here one can find his iconic cow skin armchairs and loungers, his light fixtures and his psychedelic chandeliers, along with his elegant wood and metal tables, all of which are built nearby in Zermatt’s old train station, which was saved from demolition and transformed into Julen’s art studio. Another section of the boutique is dedicated to the design universe of the famous, high-altitude restaurant Chez Vrony (located at 2,100 m near the Findeln hamlet), which was styled and decorated by Heinz and is run by his sister Vrony. Together, the siblings have created a space that represents their shared belief that the best of Zermatt should highlight its true origins, turning a cold shoulder to stuffed Saint Bernards and anything with a sticker that says Made in China. That aesthetic philosophy goes one step further in Julen’s new Bahnhofstrasse space, in an area of the boutique that’s dedicated to invited brands, local or international, who are featured for the authenticity of their craft or for their singular vision. Zermatt Selection runs parallel to la Kunsträume, Heinz Julen’s contemporary art gallery in Zermatt that plays host to five large exhibits each year at the gallery’s home base within the Backstage Hotel (open every day from 17:00-23:00, except for closure in May and November). Photography, painting, sculpture, installations, mixed media, and digital art are all welcomed over the course of the year. From the Bahnhofstrasse, a glass hallway (open from 08:00 until midnight) invites passersby to explore the gallery further by highlighting some of the most iconic works currently on display. The gallery is currently exhibiting German painter Dietmar Brixy’s (born 1961) large format gestural works, which incorporate powerful reliefs and dripping techniques that exemplify a modernization of the traditional elements of painting. The next exhibition will feature German photographer Stephan Verdino and a still-as-of-yet-unannounced internationally-renowned painter, who was commissioned for a special series of work revolving around Zermatt and winter sports. The boutique is open everyday from 09:30-19:30.