Zurich Airport’s ‘The Circle’ Is a Whole New Travel Experience
This piece is part of our GATEZERO hub — a travel-focused content series celebrating GATEZERO, our concept store at Zurich Airport.
By now, you’re probably well aware of our appreciation for Zurich. The Swiss city offers exceptional Alpine nature, a plethora of A-grade restaurants, bars, contemporary museums, and an abundance of architectural sights. What more could you want for a weekend escape?
Discovering the delights of Zurich starts the second you touch down at Zurich Airport. We’re not just saying that because it’s home to our first concept store, GAETZERO, (well, we are a bit), but it’s also the location of The Circle, one of Switzerland’s most ambitious and iconic construction projects in recent years.
Opened at the end of 2020, The Circle is a spectacular 200,000 square-meter-space designed by Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto. Yamamoto is known for encouraging social change through architecture ancd his portfolio counts a number of universities, schools, and housing projects in Japan. When designing The Circle, he took a similar approach. Housing hotels, offices, a hospital, stores, restaurants, and even a convention center, the 11-floor edifice transforms the travel hub from a place to pass through to a destination in its own right.
For inspiration, Yamamoto looked to the layout of Zurich’s medieval old town and the durability and multifunctionality of their communal spaces, reimagining them using entirely new technologies and construction methods. “Though it will be an entirely new design, it will seem somehow familiar,” he explained. Beneath its all-glass exterior, The Circle is a maze of alleyways and plazas that can be repurposed and renewed to suit the changing needs of the modern traveler.
Whether typeface or architecture, Swiss design is recognized for its precise and minimalist aesthetic, and Yamamoto wanted to honor that legacy with The Circle. The Circle Convention Center, which is managed by Hyatt Regency, is the perfect example. Hundreds of concrete beams tilt towards the sky creating an expansive A-frame room that floods with light during the day. “We believe that precision is the outstanding characteristic of Swiss design, from small objects such as watches to large objects such as buildings.” He continued: “We believe Swissness, even before it is made manifest in form, is a way of thinking developed over time by the people of Switzerland. We want to give thorough expression to that Swiss precision.”
Capture a glace of The Circle in our latest GATEZERO lookbook, featuring pieces from JW Anderson, Noah, Margiela, Acne, and more.