Nota Bene: Modem magazine said you “imposed an original, personal and unseen language on the world of the jewel.” What do you make of that assessment?
Christophe Graber: I think it’s an accurate description. I try to combine influences of different cultures, transforming them into a new and personal contemporary signature of high jewellery.
NB: What kind of woman wears Christophe Graber?
CG: My designs appeal to very strong women looking for one-of-a-kind strong pieces. These are women who are independent both in their style and opinions.
NB: In what way, if any, does Zurich influence your designs?
CG: Zurich is my home place and my comfort zone, so I feel happy designing here, but I do travel a lot for inspiration.
NB: For hotels, Nota Bene cites The Dolder Grand (for its wonderful swimming pool and its elevated woodland and lake views) and Baur au Lac for its central location. As a resident of the city, how do you rate the two?
CG: I completely agree. The views from the Dolder are stunning and Baur au Lac is well situated in the heart of things.
NB: We also rate the Widder Bar for drinks. What’s your favourite fashionable spot for a nightcap?
CG: In the winter, I like the Kronenhalle Bar for a nightcap. It’s the most beautiful bar in the city with its dim atmosphere. There are dark-green leather and mahogany walls, Giacometti lamps and great art. The barman, Peter Roth, is the magic man of the drinks. His “Ladykillers” won the world championship in 1984. I love the virgin mojito. In summer, Rimini Bar is best. It is a “badi-bar,” or bathing pool-bar and it’s right on the water.
NB: Zurich typically reflects a story of wealth with grand shopping and hotels. Are they any edgier parts to the cityscape?
CG: Yes, the nightlife in Zurich West offers a bit more edge. For clubs, I particularly like Gonzo on Langstrasse and Club Lexy on Militärstrasse. For bars, Bar 63, Bar 3000 and Longstreet are good.
NB: Spa and wellbeing are critical to Nota Bene clients, especially when travelling. Who’s in your little black book of Zurich beauty?
CG: Hammam Basar and Thermalbad & Spa. The Hammam Basar is beautifully and ecologically designed. Its Salon serves the best organic vegetarian Maghreb cuisine and the Basar carries the highest standard natural and organic products, including handwoven textiles, ceramics and skincare from Team D’Joseph.
NB: Best place in Zurich for a cappuccino?
CG: La Stanza. I like to have a coffee at the marble-topped bar.
NB: Best bakery?
CG: Café Schober. They make their chocolates in-house and they are wonderful.
NB: Best art gallery?
CG: Hauser & Wirth. The most recent exhibition I saw was by sculptor David Smith. I also love the big wooden sculptures from Paul McCarthy’s “White Snow” series.
NB: What piece of jewellery should every woman own?
CG: Whether it’s a bracelet, earrings, a ring or a necklace, every woman should have at least one piece of jewellery that was custom-made for her. My favourite stones are spinels. They are rare, magnificent in brilliance and exist in different smoky colours one only can find in this stone. My favourite metal is brushed 18-carat palladium white gold. It has a contemporary, understated look and has a very modern impact on high jewellery. We don’t use any material from protected animals and we never mention our clients’ names.
NB: Zurich in five words.
CG: Clean, safe, central, stylish, international.
NB: Your perfect day in Zurich.
CG: I would spend time in the nearby woods, cycling then swimming in the lake. In the evening I would have friends over for a casual dinner at home. I love to cook for friends, serving Ruinart Champagne, making a spicy fusion vegetable and chicken stir-fry with coconut milk and lots of exotic spices and herbs. Finally, I serve my famous homemade ginger crème caramel.
NB: Nota Bene understands the finest in world travel like no else. If we were to plan your dream itinerary, what would it entail?
CG: Wherever it was it would have to include travel by private jet only, please!