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P R O M E N A D E 2 , 3 7 8 0 G S TA A D T E L + 4 1 3 3 7 3 3 8 1 1 0 T H E A L P I N A G S TA A D , A L P I N A S T R A S S E 2 3 , 3 7 8 0 G S TA A D T E L + 4 1 3 3 7 4 4 7 4 8 0 GRAFFDIAMONDS.COM

February 17, 2017 - Issue 2 – CHF 3.50


The Beauty of BibiMichèle


Future Use of the Premises Remains Open


A Portrait of Isabelle Giovanella

HOM E IS WHERE THE HEART IS. *Saanenland Calendar

G S TA A D S A A N E N LA N D 2017

SL_Kalender_2017_103178_print 1

06.07.16 15:23

It’s not too late yet to order your Saanenland Calendar! Order online or visit our shop www.kalendersaanenland.ch

Müller Medien AG Kirchstrasse 6 3780 Gstaad Tel. 033 748 88 74 www.mmedien.ch


Your local interior decorator. www.staubgstaad.ch

GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 2 // FEBRUARY 17, 2017 RZ_Staub_Inserat_GL_97x139mm_Feb_2017.indd 1

09.02.17 16:01

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun In the magazine business, just as in real life, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Often we have a new ad come in, an interview pulled a few hours before printing, or even a celebrity or government request that we are unwilling to refuse. It’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants profession, and one that has given me immense satisfaction, especially over my past four years at GSTAADLIFE.



3 Letter from the Editor 22 Events Calendar

Local News

and professional connections that will most certainly last a lifetime.

This marks the start of a fresh new chapter for both the magazine and me personally. GSTAADLIFE will see a host of changes led by Markus, and I’m sure you’ll be very happy with his dedication to making it a truly local magazine and focusing on issues that concern residents and those integrated into our community.

After four years here, I still can’t ski, and I still can’t stomach caviar, but I’m happy to declare that the champagne goes down a whole lot easier than it did before.

Meanwhile, I’ll be taking the better part of a year off to regain my health, as well as finish a book and film project from my home in Lausanne. But Gstaad has a funny way of finding its way into your heart… I know it holds a very special place in mine. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many of you, and have made friendships

So dear reader, let me offer up one last toast – to you! PS If you catch a glimpse of yourself in one of my book’s (fictional!) characters, I ask that you take it with a grain of salt, rather than taking me to court. Best Regards Alexis Munier Editor in Chief

Photo: Rahi Rezvani

Photo: Mark Nolan

Photo: Miguel Bueno

This season, I announced I was stepping down as editor in chief, yet unfortunately had to leave after our first two winter editions. So it is with heavy heart that I thank publishing director Markus Iseli for stepping in early, and completing GSTAADLIFE’s January and February issues when I was unable. In this edition, he has prepared a wide variety of articles that run

the gamut from housing regulations to hamburgers (ok, burgers was me!).

Sports & Leisure


Gstaad Living


8 5 The Alpina Cup 16 Once Upon a Time... 9 Primo Frattali 18 A Matter of Dedication 9 Cross Country Skiing Meets Ski Cross th

5 School Turns into Art Centre 5 Building Regulations 6 If Music Be the Food of Love 7 Medical Center To Close in March

Arts & Culture

11 An Evening To Remember


14 A Portrait of Isabelle Giovanella


19 Legends Party for Innocence in Danger 19 Ephemeral Shape for Eternal Beauty 20 An Appointment with Dr Kiener 21 All in the Family

GSTAADLIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, www.gstaadlife.com // Management Board: Frank Müller // Publisher: Frank Müller, frank.mueller@gstaadlife.com // Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, markus.iseli@gstaadlife.com // Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier, alexis.munier@gstaadlife.com // Contributors: Januaria Piromallo // Layout: Aline Brawand // Advertising: Eliane Behrend, advertising@gstaadlife.com, Phone: 033 748 88 71 // Subscriptions: Flurina Welten, subscriptions@gstaadlife.com, Phone: 033 748 88 74 // Cover Photo: © Mark Nolan






handmade gifts



Inserat GL 27. Januar 2017

Tue – Fri 2–6pm Sat 10am – 4pm Kirchstrasse 7 3780 Gstaad T 033 744 89 66


We are looking for





.: +++

• You are a native speaker of English or you have a native-like level of English.

• You want to share your love for the region with guests and foreign residents. • You would enjoy writing about events, people, or the region for GstaadLife. Contact our Publishing Director, Markus Iseli, to find out more. Phone: 033 748 88 74 Email: markus.iseli@gstaadlife.com



School Turns into Art Centre Open Spaces in Feutersoey

Since the new school in Gsteig was finished and inaugurated last summer, the children from Gsteig and Feutersoey have attended school in Gsteig. The relatively new school building in Feutersoey has been empty since, except for the small grocery shop in the corner of the ground floor. The municipality of Gsteig recently announced that they found a new tenant with an exciting project. B Y G S TA A DL IF E

The founder of Simple Gallerie, Greg Holt, is one of the initiators of the project Open Spaces, which aims to provide temporary space for artists to live and work. With his partners, Kyra and Roderick MacLeod, he signed a two-year lease to turn part of the former school building into a residency for professional artists.

Swift Realisation Planned Some alterations to the building are necessary. The ground floor, which will remain open for public use, has to be separated from the upper floors, where the artists will live and work. The residential area is also missing bedrooms and showers. These measures must be finished before March, when the first residencies are scheduled. The residency periods are split up into four three-month slots, during each of which two artists reside at Open Spaces. Open Spaces Open for Public The art centre is meant to live up to its name. Open Spaces is not a hideaway for solitary artists but a place to encourage the exchange between artists and the public: "As the school used to be a source

of life to the community, Open Spaces aims to keep this life going," the initiators state in their project plan. Additionally to an exhibition at the end of their residency, artists are expected to organise at least one activity for the public during their stay. This can be a concert, a workshop, a walk, or any other activity that engages people and art. Artists are also encouraged to keep an open studio. Finances Not Secured Yet The organisers are currently looking for funds to ensure the first two years, for which they have signed the lease. The sum of 48000.– CHF is needed for the eight residencies until February 2018. www.openspacesart.ch

Building Regulations

State Demands More Rigorous Execution of Existing Rules


The consequences for the Saanenland are quite drastic because the law under discussion regulates modifications of buildings that stand in an agricultural zone. It affects in particular residential buildings that are detached or connected to an unused farm building.

possible to make a change to the exterior of a building when the modernisation of the residential space, the improvement of energy efficiency, or the exterior adaptation to the surrounding landscape make is absolutely necessary. “Exterior enlargements are practically no longer possible” says Bruno Künzi, from the can-

tonal office for spatial planning. Extending the basement and renovations within existing structures, such as an adjoining barn, are still possible. A number of building applications have been suspended and will have to go back to the drawing board.

Photo: Blanca Burri

Four years ago a revised version of the spatial planning act took effect. The enforcement of this act remains in cantonal hands. Because the canton of Bern interpreted the new regulations too freely, the state issued an official admonition and has demanded for more rigourous enforcement of the law.

Previously, buildings could be enlarged when they were undergoing renovation, as long as the essential character remained unchanged, which left room for interpretation. Enlargements had always been limited to a maximum of 30% of the existing surface or a total of 100m2. The revision of the act four years ago added further specifications. It is now only

The enlargement of residential buildings in agricultural zones will be more difficult.



If Music Be the Food of Love McCarthy’s Fills Hearts and Stomachs

Trendy hamburger joints have swept over Swiss cities in recent years, and have at last reached the Pays d’Enhaut. En route to Gstaad via Château-d’Oex, Brendan and Kari McCarthy have created a lively oasis that offers a full menu of beef, chicken, and vegetable burgers for discerning diners. B Y A L E X I S MUNIE R

While the Saanenland boasts a dazzling selection of high-class hamburgers (see GSTAADLIFE’s July 2015 “Best Burger Awards”), hungry locals had to travel outside the Pays-d’Enhaut to sample their dinner of choice. Many visited the Saanen pub Jam, which until recently had a popular build-your-own-burger setup. However, the BYOB’s departure from the menu has left many local burger fans in the cold… the same fans that now make the short drive to frequent McCarthy’s “Lord of Burgers” instead.

It’s in the Sauce McCarthy has imported a variety of his homeland’s finest steak and burger restaurant sauces for sampling, including the unique Special Burger, which features a tangy barbeque-marinated beef patty topped with a handful of fresh rocket and crispy dried onions. Feeling especially hungry? Try the Supreme Burger, a giant two-patty sandwich stuffed with a fried egg and caramelised onions, with a side of thin, crispy fries seasoned with just a hint of spices from the Würzbar in Gstaad. Washed down with an American-style Basel pale ale or a glass of the (nearly) eponymous Château Mac Carthy’s from Bordeaux, there’s a choice of both local and imported drinks for all palates, young and old. South African-Style Brendan McCarthy began his musical ca-

reer in South Africa before settling down in Switzerland with his Norwegian wife Kari, a singer and instrumentalist. He has worked for 35 years as a professional singer-songwriter, and when he’s not running the restaurant, McCarthy can be found playing music at the Golf Hotel Saanenmöser and Grand Chalet, amongst other hotels. If time permits, he brings his guitar downstairs and the couple serenade guests between bites of McCarthy’s contemporary cuisine. Inspired by the airy, renovated locale and desire to bring quality hamburgers to the region, the McCarthy’s bought the property in 2013, where they also run a bed-and-breakfast, art studio, party hall, and fitness room in which weekly McUMBA and line-dancing classes are held. www.mccarthys.ch


Celebrity Trainer Leads Unique Winter Fitness Retreat at Park Gstaad

Taking place from 9–12 March 2017, this three-night Pop Up Fitness retreat offers the chance to enjoy the season’s snow with a tailored programme of fitness, nutrition and alpine adventure at Europe’s most exclusive ski destination, Gstaad. Led by renowned celebrity trainer Olivia Cooney, the varied itinerary will feature blood-pumping activities such as outdoor HIIT training, mountain biking and boxing as well as ‘lengthening and strengthening’ and ‘core focus’ classes. Alpine enthusiasts can also take to the slopes with the option of skiing or snowboarding for the day.

specially tailored clean-eating menu – a colaboration between Olivia and Park Gstaad’s Executive Chef, Axel Rüdlin. Freshly prepared using regional produce, the menu has been designed to provide controlled, filling portions that give a taste of Swiss tradition but without the guilt. For an all-round dose of wellness, the itinerary also includes a one-hour Aromatherapy Associates spa treatment as well as plenty of time to relax and enjoy the fivestar facilities on offer at Park Gstaad. These include a ‘Pool and Refuel’ session in the hotel’s salt pool, access to the 1,000m² spa facilities and a luxury private movie screening. For more information and to book visit: www.parkgstaad.ch/popup-fitness

Complementing the packed programme of daily exercise, guests can refuel on a



Photo: Park Gstaad

Following the success of last summer’s Luxury Fitness Retreat, Park Gstaad is once again partnering with famed personal trainer and health expert Olivia Cooney for the winter edition.

Photo: AvS

Medical Center To Close in March Future Use of the Premises Remains Open

After little more than a year, Localmed Aare decides to close their Medical Center Saanen by the end of the winter season. The extended opening hours could not be financed in the long run. It remains to be decided if the Medical Center will reopen with a new concept in summer. B Y G S TA A DL IF E

In a press release, the president of Localmed Aare’s supervisory board, Urs Birchler, states that the aim had always been “to provide medical assistance during extended opening hours”. That was the common goal defined in preliminary discussions between the municipality of Saanen and Localmed Aare. It was clear from the start that the Medical Center would be dependent on external financial support to remain open during seven days a week from 8am to 8pm. External support was to come from the Friends of Healthcare Saanenland and the municipality. The public money was highly contested, though, and the facultative referendum against this financial support was approved on 15 April 2016 by the voting sovereign. The financial share from the Friends of Healthcare Saanenland was not sufficient to fulfil

the primary goal of the Medical Center, which subsequently shortened its opening hours. With the cuts in external funding and the shorter opening hours, which evidently resulted in a lack of walk-in patients in the evening hours and on weekends, the deficit for 2016 was inevitable. Recent Departure of Leading Physician Last autumn Localmed Aare reassessed its situation. On top of the financial issues, they received the notice of their leading physician. Under these circumstances, the immediate closure was an option. The Medical Center remained open for two reasons: first, the Friends of Healthcare Saanenland had already granted the renewal of their support for the winter season 2016/17, and second, Localmed was open to discuss alternative solutions of operation and financing. Whatever the future, “Localmed Aare is not willing to operate the Medical Center in a similar fashion by themselves” as they put it in the press release. According to the analysis made in autumn, the centre lacks a sufficient number of regular patients. The number of walk-in patients during peak season

was satisfactory but not high enough to compensate the off-season low. There is no need for such a service with enough existing medical practices in the region. Birchler estimates that the Medical Center in its current dimension can only survive once two other practices will have closed. New Leading Physician Until March of this year, Dr Grunder will be in charge of the Medical Center. She is an experienced physician and backed by Dr Heim, previous chief physician at the hospital in Frutigen. It remains to be seen for how long the doors will close on 18 th March. The following weeks will show if an alternative concept can be found. District Council Hopes for a Solution District council president Toni von Grünigen confirms that Localmed Aare terminated the rental agreement by the end of March. “We do have great interest in maintaining the practice in some form and we keep up the exchange with the Friends of Healthcare Saanenland,” von Grünigen states. He also accepts, however, that “for the time being there is no need for a year-round service of this kind”.



Photo: Guido Reichenbach

5th The Alpina Cup

Le Rosey Wins the Skiing Competition For the First Time This February, The Alpina Cup took place for the fifth time. Teams of Le Rosey competed local teams in hockey (Hockey Club Gstaad-Saanenland) and skiing (Grammar School Gstaad). After a sporty day, the organisers and competitors came together at The Alpina for a festive dinner.

changed in time for the 5th The Alpina Cup to begin according to schedule.

It seemed that the weather would make the competitions impossible. Friday morning was so stormy that officials were ready to cancel the event. Luckily the weather

Andrew Spener, teacher at Le Rosey, was certain they would win the team competition: "We're gonna beat them this year," Photo: Frank Müller


Giant Slalom in the Afternoon... The afternoon began with the giant slalom on the slopes of the Wasserngrat. Skiers were entered in an individual and a team classification. For the latter the times of the four fastest male and female racers were added up.

he announced. Indeed, local racers could only prove their talent in the individual competitions; the skiers of the Grammar School Gstaad lost over twenty seconds in the team competition. ... And Hockey in the Evening The all-star team of the Hockey Club Gstaad-Saanenland took the lead early on in the match. It took the players of the team Le Rosey a little longer to play their best hockey. In the end HC Gstaad-Saanenland won this part of the competition 8:4. The best players of the evening were Rhys de Dycker (HC Gstaad-Saanenland) and Timur Khalikov (Le Rosey). To Be Continued Christoph Däpp and Christophe Gudin, the directors of the Grammar School Gstaad and Le Rosey respectively, agree that the event strengthens the bond between the two schools. It is an exchange both sides value. Last summer, Le Rosey invited the Grammar School Gstaad to their campus in Rolle for a field hockey tournament. It was the second time local students reciprocated the more regular visits of the Roséens in Gstaad.

The organisers of the fifth The Alpina Cup: Andrew Spencer (Le Rosey, Hockey), Christoph Däpp (Director, Grammar School Gstaad), Eric Favre (Director, The Alpina Gstaad), Christophe Gudin (Director, Institut Le Rosey), Patrick Zürcher (Le Rosey, Ski), and Ruedi Kunz (HC Gstaad-Saanenland)



After five years of The Alpina Cup and two field hockey tournaments in Rolle it's probably too early to talk of a tradition. It might turn into one, though, after the positive feedback from the organisers, competitors and spectators.

Primo Frattali

The Saanenland is known for its adventurous outdoor sports, but one man is determined to bring a quiet, concentrated, and decidedly indoor sport to the region. The man is Primo Frattali; the sport is judo. BY ALE XIS MUNIER

It has been several decades since Frattali, 44, has called Gstaad home. With Greek and Italian roots, Frattali grew up in Athens and until 2016, competed for his father’s homeland, Italy. He recently completed his first competition for Switzerland last September, winning the silver medal at the World Grand Prix Championship. Now, he is focused on preparing for the European Championship in June, as well as hopefully continuing on to the World Championship in October 2017. Discovering Judo As a child, Frattali took to judo like a fish to water, and within just a few years he won his first youth championship. The honours continued, and he won tournament after tournament – he is a five-time Greek silver medallist (from 1985 to 1991) and has won over 20 medals in the Master category, such as the Kodokan Masters in 2015. Though Frattali still trains daily and competes worldwide, he is passionate about sharing the sport with the next gen-

eration. Judo teacher for levels C & B, certified by the Greek Ministry of Sport and Culture, Frattali taught at the Judoclub Saanenland, but now sees students at his private facilities. His ultimate goal is to introduce judo to young people through both the private and public schools, and Frattali has just returned from the EJU Expert Commission conference where he helped develop a plan that bridges covering fundamental judo skills and provides the tools to introduce the sport as well as develop further professional for beginning instructors. “The Saanenland is all about outdoor sports like skiing, not martial arts,” confesses Frattali, admitting it’s a long shot. “But after getting to know the Swiss after 20 years in Gstaad, I really think it’s an ideal sport to suit their temperament – it requires concentration, calm, and composure. And now, we have a platform from which to create and retain an interest in our sport.” Making Ends Meet Making a living as a judo champ isn’t easy; Frattali has also integrated himself into the local business community, running the Mojo bar on Eggli in the winters and working privately as a sport coach, bringing judo and judo-inspired training to the

Photo: Unknown

Italian-Born Judoka from Saanen Competes for Switzerland

Primo Frattali Saanenland. While he prepares his detailed programme for introducing judo to local youth, he is busy preparing for his first challenge of the year, a test at Copa de Spain in March, and following that, a test in April in Japan for participating yet again at Kodokan. Though he insists he will retire from competition at the end of the year, for the moment the Saanenland can still be proud that it is the home of Switzerland’s best shot at winning the upcoming European and World Championships.

Cross Country Skiing Meets Ski Cross If you know what ski cross is, you can easily imagine what cross-country ski cross looks like. You can also find out by visiting the new venue for cross-country skiers in Schönried.

track, and various obstacles. The highlight is the brief stretch of classic-style tracks, on which the skier's feet never are on the same level. These mismatched waves, as it were, are a real balancing challenge, even for advanced skiers.

Photo: Blanca Burri

New Winter Sport Offer in Schönried


A short walk away from the Horneggli chair-lift station, the village boasts the first permanent cross-country cross slope in Switzerland. As in ski cross, jumps and high-banked turns have to be overcome. The short but intense course additionally features slaloms, a wave

Moving from the initial idea to the realisation of the project barely took a year, which is record time. Nathalie von Siebenthal, who recently achieved the best result of a female Swiss athlete at the famous Tour de Ski, was present at the inauguration of the new slope in January.

Nathalie von Siebenthal shows how it's done properly.



SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION THE ADRESS FOR YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD SINCE 1970. Gschwendstrasse 2 | CH-3780 Gstaad Tel. +41 33 748 45 50 | Fax. +41 33 748 45 51 info@gerax.ch | www.gerax.ch

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10.02.17 17:00

Rougemont Magnificent chalet •

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Large balconies and terraces on the south

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Garage for two cars Réf. B-18C – Price upon request

CF Immobilier Compagnie Foncière SA Rue du Village 40– 1659 Rougemont 026 925 85 85 info@cfimmobilier.ch - www.cfimmobilier.ch

Rougemont – Château-d’Oex – Gruyères - Bulle



An Evening To Remember

Polina Pastirchak And Jan Philip Schulze Deliver a Shining Performance This year's Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad presented – once again – an exceptional selection of internationally known artists. One of the highlights of this year's programme was the Hungarian soprano Polina Pastirchak, accompanied by Jan Philip Schulze on the piano. BY PATRIZIA MESSMER

With Schumann, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov amongst others, the programme contained some of the greatest composers of the Romantic period. And the soprano Polina Pastirchak did not disappoint the expectations of the audience. Not only did she manage to fill the beautifully illuminated church completely with her voice; she also brought the songs to life. The interaction between the soprano and the pianist was excellent. With the pianist Jan Philip Schulze, one of the most versatile and innovative pianists of his generation, Pastirchak had the perfect companion by her side. The finesse of their performance indicated that they were not performing together for the first time: Jan Philip Schulze has regularly accompanied Polina Pastirchak for soloist concerts since 2010 and he made her shine once again.

Photo: Miguel Bueno

The Hungarian singer was born in Budapest to a family of artists of Russian origin. Pastirchak’s international career took off after winning the prestigious Geneva International Music competition in 2009. Since then she has performed all over Europe and has won many more prizes for her performances as an opera singer. Pastirchak and Schulze concluded the concert with the encore "Heia heia in den Bergen ist mein Heimatland" from Emmerich Kállmánn’s operetta "Die Csárdásfürstin". They wowed the audience with another passionate performance and received many bravos from the thrilled audience. www.sommetsmusicaux.ch




Of Noble and Private Provenance, the Contents of the Late Molly de Balkany's M




Manor Is Remarkable Both in the Breadth and Depth of Continental Works of Art Public preview and auction in situ: Prangins near Geneva

The Royal Horticultural Society, London, named a rose (above) after Molly de Balkany, in recognition of her exquisite taste and literary talent.

Molly de Balkany was a novelist published by the highly prestigious French house of Gallimard. Her late brother, Robert Zellinger de Balkany, was married to and divorced from – habituées of Gstaad and noted historians – Geneviève, daughter of the great French Ambassador in Berlin

André François-Poncet, and thereafter HRH Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Savoy, daughter of the last king and queen of Italy. This superb selection, including paintings, clocks, sculpture, important French Empire bronzes and furniture, silver, glass,

carpets, jewellery, European and Asian porcelain and works of art, dates to the final decades of the 20th century. Such a broad and cosmopolitan collection invites a fascinating voyage through changing aristocratic tastes across generations and continents.

Public Preview at the Manor 12 noon to 7pm

Auction at the Manor

Auction Catalogue

Friday, April 28 Saturday, April 29 Sunday, April 30

Saturday, May 6 Directions: www.piguet.com

– Call 022 320 11 77 or send email to info@piguet.com



Photo: Mark Nolan

Glass in All Shapes and Colours Portrait of Isabelle Giovanella

At the entrance of the village of Saanen, on the fairly quiet Oberdorfstrasse, Isabelle Giovanella runs her stained glass workshop and atelier. Her grandfather founded the workshop, in which she still produces and sells her art. B Y G S TA A DL IF E

Over half a century ago, in 1962, Giovanella’s grandfather Hans Hirt founded the workshop at the Oberdorfstrasse. He was often on the road to repair damaged church windows, which still is one of the most common uses of stained glass. Giovanella was born in Neuchâtel but her parents returned to the Saanenland when she was only aged 2; they took over the workshop. Her parents' work soon stirred a sense of creativity and artistry in the young girl, who spent a lot of time in her parents’ atelier. But it was still a long way to her current position, including a detour in administrative jobs. As a young adult, Giovanella decided to return to her place of birth – at least temporarily – to visit the École Supérieure de Commerce. Her formative years continued in the Federal Administration


and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. After some years of administrative work in the capital, Giovanella returned to her roots in Saanen. In 1999 she was back home to learn the trade of her grandfather in her parents’ workshop. Two years later she was running the business. A Big Dream Come True Continuing the family business was a big dream for Giovanella. After working in her own workshop for thirteen years, she decided to broaden her knowledge and abilities as a stained glass artist. In 2014 she began an abbreviated apprenticeship. Every other month she spends a day in Bern for this purpose, time she appreciates. Even though she has years of practical experience, Giovanella learns many new things that she can adapt and integrate in her own work. Stained glass workmanship is strongly related to history, culture, and art. This combination fascinates Giovanella as well as the interplay of colours and light. Last but not least she appreciates the contact with her clients. Most orders begin with a meeting, in which


she needs to find out what the client wants – not always an easy task but one Giovanella enjoys. Standing Out If glass painting has never been a common profession, it has become even rarer in our modern times. Giovanella owns the only stained glass workshop in the whole Bernese Oberland. Her class in the Design School (Schule für Gestaltung) in Bern only counts three students – Giovanella included. Often she leaves Saanen for her bimonthly trip to the school with her bag full of glass to provide the exercise material for her fellow students and for herself. People know each other within the Swiss glass painting community and they are happy to help, be it with a word of advice or a larger furnace. Fresh Colours for the Anglican Church Giovanella’s most recent project is the renovation of the leadlights of the Anglican Church in Château-d’Oex. Her grandfather used to travel all around Switzerland to restore church windows, probably the most famous form of glass painting. Now Giovanella can renovate a

The Anglican Church is currently organising a fund raising to finance the renovation of the windows. Two have been financed so far but there are nine more, for which funds could not be secured yet. Giovanella hopes that finances will no longer delay the work. What exactly is waiting for her is hard to say. It all depends on the condition of the various parts of each window. In a work of restauration such as this one, Giovanella follows the guidelines of the Corpus Vitrearum, an initiative for the documentation and rescuing of historical stained glass windows. Reinventing Tradition Apart from the traditional leadlight techniques Giovanella uses glass fusing, for example. It's a technique used to join two or more glass pieces together by partly melting the glass at 800 degrees. In a second step the joined glass pieces can be shaped. The results are modern interior objects for lighting, bathrooms, or doors, for example. So stained glass should not be reduced to antiques or dusty churches.

A leadlight in the making. The desing is drawn on thick paper and the single elements cut out. The shapes are placed on glass pieces and cut out with a special glass cutter.

The single pieces are put back together like a jigsaw.

Photo: Mark Nolan

Giovanella is neither afraid of dusty churches, nor of modern interior decoration. Her proudly cherished speciality are lamps and lightings of all kinds, be it a traditional streetlight or a modern interior installation. After all, that's what stained glass has always been about: the interplay with light.

Photos: Guido Reichenbach

church just across the Vanel, a work she is looking forward to.

Traditional lights and lanterns

A more modern interpretation of her work: interior lighting made by glass fusing

Finally, the single pieces are joined with leaden profiles.



Once Upon a Time... Photos provided by Hans Bettler

... in the Alps

Not everything was better in the old days. For one, clearing the streets of the snow was hard labour. The plough merely provided an inlet to start digging with the shovels.



And once the streets were ready, parking proved to be the same nightmare as it is today. Though the queues along the main street in Saanenmöser – in the direction of Zweisimmen above and in the direction of Schönried below – are very neat!



Photo: Mark Nolan

A Matter of Dedication A Very Brief History of Gerax

Sometimes things just fall into place; opportunities and solutions crop up without a masterplan. Is it destiny, luck, or maybe just coincidence? The story of one of the oldest real estate businesses in the region, is the result of passion, dedication, and hard work, though it has never felt like that. B Y M A RK U S I S E L I

The story begins with Trudi Saner’s arrival in Gstaad in 1967. A native of Biel, she came to Gstaad to take care of the trust and insurance work in the architectural firm Mühlheim. Rather unexpectedly and only for legal reasons, Saner became a co-founder of Gerax in 1970. While she remained “just” an employee, she soon found herself practically managing the business by herself. Three times Saner returned to her hometown and three times she came back to Gstaad because they needed her at Gerax. Eventually, she went all in and bought Mühlheim’s shares. If she was to take care of the business and its employees she wanted to do so properly. Consequently, she decided to stay for good. It was after this decision that Saner met her future husband, Gerhard Saner – at Gerax of course. She sold him a beautiful flat (in which they still live today). Also a native of Biel, Gerhard Saner had his watch business and his foundation for Swiss art to return to, but the distance only made their hearts grow fonder. They decided to marry and were soon joined by their daughter Pascale. The Secret To Success Despite all the time and energy Ms San-


er put into her business she doesn’t like being referred to as a businesswoman. “No,” she says, “I’ve never been a businesswoman. I just enjoyed doing what felt right and finding people their perfect home.” The result was a company with the best possible service for its clients, no matter what date or time of day. That’s why Pascale Saner celebrated her first birthday at the offices of Gerax. Young Pascale also accompanied her mother to save a client and his entire family from the smoke that invaded his chalet because he had forgotten to adjust the air control of the fireplace – on Christmas eve. This round-the-clock service, for which Gerax still stands today, has been a matter of course from the very beginning. Pascale Saner and her husband Ben Worbs – a graduate of the JFK and Le Rosey – have joined Trudi Saner in the management of Gerax. Pascale entered her mother’s enterprise shortly after she had finished public school in Gstaad. Trudi Saner initially took her daughter to career counsellors and wanted her to find her own way. Pascale Saner had never felt a need for this. Her response, her mother recalls with a smile, was always the same: “Mom, I know where I belong.” When Pascale Saner was pregnant with her first child in 2011, Worbs replaced her at Gerax. He instantly liked the work and had an exceptional connection with his mother-in-law. They soon decided that he would stay in the business. With the prospect of becoming a father, he didn’t want to continue jetting around the world working on infrastructure projects in developing countries. Today, he is happy to


be so close to his three children Valentina, Louis, and Josephine, who are already familiar faces at Gerax. New Generation – Same Values Worbs, a jack-of-all-trades bursting with energy, assures that he is keen on keeping his mother-in-law’s spirit in the business. Obviously, this is not a big effort because they share the same dedication and values. All three smile when they tell the story how Ben dressed up as Santa on 24 December and visited the children of a client with a horse-drawn sled and a bag full of presents. It sounds like a memory from Trudi Saner’s old days. Don’t they ever need some time off? “The aim is to lead a life from which you don’t need a holiday,” says Worbs. His serene expression indicates that he found this life at Gerax. And Pascale Saner describes their motivation in a nutshell: “Being at ease in your home is the most important thing in life”, she explains. “It’s great if you can help people find their perfect abode.” All three are grateful to live in “the most wonderful place”, as Pascale Saner puts it. They stopped advertising in numerous international publications because they prefer putting that money back into the community through local sports teams, events, schools or the new cable car at the Eggli. It was Ben’s initiative and connections that brought the main person behind saving the Eggli, a client of Gerax, and the board of the BDG together. Gerax can open doors – not only the ones of chalets. The Saner/Worbs family is happy to assume the responsibility that comes with this privilege.

Legends Party for Innocence in Danger Marilyn and Frank Sighted on the Wasserngrat!

This year the Swiss non-profit Innocence in Danger took their annual fundraiser up the mountain to the top of the Wasserngrat. The "Legends Party", co-sponsored by Crédit Suisse and three anonymous donors, kicked off with a rock’n’roll greeting at the bottom of the ski lift and carried on up the mountain. B Y K AT E FA IZO VA

Sport, Olden, Gstaad Palace, Hermès, Daniel Benjamin Fourrure, and Robert Speth’s Chesery as well as goodies offered by La Durée, PureSatya, and Cookie Bee.

Barbey and Didier Gallay from the Authentic Memorabilia Gallery, and artists Vanessa von Zitzewitz, Françoise Respen, and Azadeh Ghotbi.

Once again, the phenomenal auctioneer Roxane Zand, Deputy Chairman at Sotheby’s brought out the gavel to auction pieces donated by the Bel-Air Fine Arts Gallery, the Howard Griffin Gallery, Jean-Michel

All of the funds collected will go to Innocence in Danger’s activities in Switzerland to help keep children safe, make parents aware and support the recovery of victims of child abuse.

Guests won tombola prizes from supporters at Tag Heuer, Glow, Moncler, Ovale, Pernet World of Food, the 16 Art Bar & Restaurant, Marina Anouilh Showroom, Chopard, Lovell Camps, Silver

Photo: Raphael Faux/Gstaadphotography.com

Guests were welcomed by Homayra Sellier, IID president and founder, and were invited to dress for the event as legends of film, sport, music and culture – and did they ever! Charlie Chaplin, Olivia Newton John, Joan of Arc, Lucille Ball, Cher and Winston Churchill boogied down with the real Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. Masterfully and generously redecorated by François Charbonnaz, the venue was converted into a 1920s speak-easy run by the inimitable Tess Larosse and her crew of gangsters and flapper girls… with a ladies’ powder room hosted by Zaza Inecco and the girls from the Nail Stop.

Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra at the IID party

Ephemeral Shape for Eternal Beauty It’s not the first time Graff uses the shape of the volatile butterfly to set their diamonds. This time, the butterfly takes a more central and dominant role than previously, though, and almost lets you forget what you are actually wearing. B Y G S TA A DL IF E

At first sight The Princess Butterfly seems to be a mere bracelet, though “mere” is not the right word here. It is an elaborate and intricately designed piece of jewellery, radiating an elegant and fascinating beauty. The butterfly is made of a myriad of small diamonds, which actually give a

three dimensional shape to the animal's wings. Featuring white, pink or yellow diamonds, the intricate markings of the wings are illuminated with the finest gemstones.

Photo: Graff

Butterfly Unveils Hidden Timepiece

More Than Meets the Eye Hidden under the delicate wings is a secret timepiece. A discrete and invisible mechanism discloses the the watch dial, which is set with mother of pearl. The watch is available with a satin watch strap or with an all diamond bracelet, which combines four interwoven lines of diamonds. www.graffdiamonds.com



An Appointment with Dr Kiener Marcel Proust of Medicine

"What? You don't know Dr Eric Kiener? You absolutely have to meet him; and listen to him carefully! He is a unique master of alternative medicine." So my longtime friend Milagros Branca, writer and photographer, told me on the phone. B Y J A NUA RI A P IR OM A L LO

When you first visit Dr Kiener at the Hôpital du Pays-d'Enhaut in Château-d'Oex, the impression is that of a radiant and pure person. Only white glistens all around him: white hair (which doesn't make him look old at all), white shirt, white pants, white walls. Even his skin is like porcelain. Whatever is his diet, I want to eat the same!

Dr Kiener has patients from all over the world. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and travelled extensively. He arrived in Château-d'Oex in 2010 with a long list of academic titles and areas of expertise: MD in Paris, FMH in Switzerland, Traditional Chinese Medicine (he studied in China and other Eastern countries to learn the old secrets of acupuncture), therapeutic treatment with plants (Société Suisse de Phytothérapie Médicale), and nutrition specialist. The Questionnaire You shouldn’t be in a hurry when you have an appointment with Dr Kiener. He starts by asking about your standard weight and blood pressure. Well, it depends on the day… But that’s not all. Patients have to fill in a long and detailed questionnaire.

Photo: Januaria Piromallo

Body and Mind He lives by the following dictum: "We are what we give to our body – not only on a physical side but also in a spiritual

way. Give it good food, good energy and positive thoughts."

He smiles: "You are a white page for me. Reading it is like looking at you through a mirror". Questions start from the top and go down to the bottom, from the cephalic region to the abdomen via the back. He won’t skip analysing your metabolism either. Know Thyself The last part of the Dr Kiener’s long list of questions for patients reminds me of the famed survey of the French writer Marcel Proust in his long novel A la recherche du temps perdu. It was the french writer’s hobby to dig deep into the personalities of the regular attendants of High Society in Paris. The meticulous Dr Kiener inquires in a kind of multiple choice test about your dominant tendencies: Are you joyful or emotional? Selfish or depressive? Misanthropic or non-conformist? Patient or irritable? Are you sensitive to electromagnetic waves? Do you have a strong need for affection? Do you have any mental problems? Are you worried about the future? Do you lack courage and initiative? Do you have any obsessions? Are you lazy? At the bottom of all this lies the salutary key of knowledge about yourself, and Dr Kiener prescribes accordingly. His remedies, such as acupuncture, medical plants or homeopathy, and nutritional advice, are an enrichment to the journey through mind and soul. Dr Kiener is a psychologist without being a psychologist. He teaches honesty towards yourself. And after only one sitting with him the labyrinth of your thoughts is more accessible. Every disease and illness starts in your head and in your heart.

Dr Kiener in his practice in Château-d'Oex



I confess my ignorance. I didn't know the extraordinary and humble-hearted Dr Kiener, but I knew his sister, the volcanic Vanina from Marti Interiors, the owner of the trendy design shop in Gstaad. She promised her brother: "One day I will stop smoking thanks to this healthy and efficient Chinese Medicine".

Photos: Rahi Rezvani

All in the Family The Beauty of BibiMichèle

A family that is the epitome of beauty: Mother Michèle Deiters a striking former model, and Bibi van der Velden her daughter share looks and talent. The husband, equally handsome, is a Dutch businessman, and the grandchildren, blond and blue-eyed, have inherited the family genes. Last but not least, the family lives in their beautiful chalet in Rougemont, which is a mix of modern design and traditional boiserie. B Y J A NUA RI A P IR OM A L LO

The family has long ties to the area, where Michèle attended school in Rougemont at the same institution where Lady Diana studied. Her love for the Saanenland and Pays-d’Enhaut remains strong to this day. Ateliers d’Art Since mother and daughter opened their atelier in their chalet with a superb glimpse onto the Videmanette, it has become a gathering place for collectors and jet setters. Here, Michèle and Bibi celebrated their first vernissage, a display of new artwork from the lauded sculptor and acclaimed multimedia and jewellery designer. Delicious “conceptual” canapés and festive pink champagne were served as accompaniments to the real star of the evening, the artwork of the unique artistic entity known as BibiMichèle. Footsteps From an early age, Bibi was led by the hand of her mother, and learned to ob-

serve. Michèle studied with one of Hollands most acclaimed sculptors, Nico Onkenhout, in addition to perfecting her sculpting at renowned art schools in New York and London. It was only natural that daughter Bibi would follow in her footsteps… “As a child I knew I wanted to be an artist… I was always in my mother’s studio polishing her sculptures” recalls Bibi. “The process of tracing your finger, and caressing the carved materials really shaped me.” Bibi is an accomplished sculptor in her own right and a jewellery designer as well. Born in New York, raised in the UK and the Netherlands, Bibi graduated in fine arts from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and perfected her goldsmith techniques in Schoonhoven.

are the latest must-haves for Gstaad’s leading ladies. Local Inspiration From their White Space Studio in Amsterdam to their mid-forest retreat in le Chambon in la Drome, the mother-daughter team is always searching out new inspiration and conceptual perfection. "We capture and freeze moments in time,” says Michèle with a touch of zen, dressed in jeans and an old leather jacket, the symbol of nonchalant elegance. With this extraordinary mother and daughter relationship, one artistic entity has emerged. Mother and daughter. Each other’s muse. Two spirits in one. Welcome to BibiMichèle. Welcome to Gstaad!

Eventually the connection between mother and daughter got stronger and stronger until they became "BibiMichèle", a result of an extraordinary collaboration of perspectives, experiences and emotion. They share not only a bond as mother and daughter, but intuition and artistic inspiration. One Heart, Two Disciplines Michèle is a sculptor who gives shape and soul to marble and stones, while Bibi mixes and matches baroque pearls with watermelon tourmaline or real scarab wings with brown diamonds. The jewellery designer plays with Tahitian pearls and iridescent amethyst. The Scarab – and Galaxy Collection



Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels

Events Calendar Friday, 17 February 2017 to Friday, 31 March 2017 17.2Gstaad

11.3 – 12.3

Winter Market on the Promenade

55 Swiss Winter Patrol Run

17.2 Schönried

Snow Battle Start at 6.30pm 18.2Lauenen

Public Aperitif


Lenk – Zweisimmen

Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland


General Assembly of Gstaad Saanenland Tourismi 8pm, all members are welcome


Aperitif for locals and guests

General Assembly of Saanen Aktiv


8pm, all members are welcome

Free Classical Concert

25.3 – 26.3

Mauritius Church, 7.30pm




Experience the Glacier 3000

Chess Tournament


Opent to everybody, 9am



Concert by Patrick Bianco

Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Andreas Hurni (079 / 359 46 44) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 / 748 92 08)

Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-­Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Arthur Reuteler, president, 033 744 51 33, info@bikesport-reuteler.ch, gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch.

Winner of Swiss Jazz Award 2016

Soroptimist International

Polaroid Challenge


Best freestyle picture contest

Music Society Gstaad Annual concert

President: Ursula Breuninger Tel. 033 744 05 80 Program: Patricia Glauser Edreira Tel. 076 426 16 11

Snow Food Festival


Club des Leaders

A festival of culinary discovery

Spring Festival on the Rinderberg

24.2 – 25.2


24.2 – 5.3



10.30am 29.3 

Horn Sledge Race



Igloo Melt Down Party



JFK Friendship Race by Night

Assembly of the Community of Saanen

5pm – 8pm 1.3Schönried

8pm, all citizens are welcome For further details please visit: www.gstaad.ch

Horneggli by Night 7pm – 10.30pm 3.3 – 5.3


Banked Slalom Gstaad

Church Services

Daily, open for all ages

St Peter’s Anglican Church

4.3 – 5.3

English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm


Igloo Village Film Days 4.3Gstaad

President: Jean-Sébastien Robine www.clubdesleaders.com contact@clubdesleaders.com

www.stpeters.ch Contact: cliveatkinson@bluewin.ch

Important Numbers

**** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch **** * ULTIMA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 05 50, info@ultimagstaad.com ***** ERMITAGE, WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, welcome@ermitage.ch *** * BOUTIQUE HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch *** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch *** * HOTEL DE ROUGEMONT Member of Design HotelsTM +41 (0)26 921 01 01, info@hotelderougemont.com *** * HUUS GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 04 04, welcome@huusgstaad.com **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch **** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch **** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch **** HOTEL GSTAADERHOF +41 (0)33 748 63 63, info@gstaaderhof.ch

Ambulance 144

**** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch

Police 117

** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch

Fire Brigade 118

** * HOTEL DES ALPES SAANENMÖSER +41 (0)33 748 04 50, info@desalpes.ch

Medical Emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency 033 729 26 26

** * HOTEL SOLSANA +41 (0)33 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch

Police Station 033 356 84 31

** * HOTEL SPITZHORN +41 (0)33 748 41 41, spitzhorn@spitzhorn.ch

Car Accident 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61

*** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch *** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@alphorn-gstaad.ch *** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, info@bellerive-gstaad.ch *** HOTEL ERMITAGE +41 (0)26 924 25 00, info@hotelermitage.ch

Sarina Ski Race 10am – 8pm 4.3 Saanen

Photo: Photocase


*** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch *** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.ch *** HOTEL SAANERHOF +41 (0)33 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch *** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch

Concert Chœur de la Cité de Lausanne

*** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch

Church of Saanen, 6.30pm Various

Ride on Music A range of concerts on the slopes of Saanenmöser and Schönried Gsteig

Swiss Championship of Avalanche Dogs 2017


**** * PARK GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@parkgstaad.ch

**** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com


11.3 – 12.3

**** * LE GRAND BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch

**** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch

Après-Ski Party

9.3 – 12.3 

**** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch


HOTEL RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, welcome@baerengsteig.ch HOTEL GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 35 91, brand@hotel-geltenhorn.ch HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, hotel@wildhorn.ch

Home is where your bed is Nothing beats the feeling of coming home to a bed you love. And you don’t need to be a globetrotting supermodel to know that the secret to a great day lies in an incredible night’s sleep – or to know that the only bed worth coming home to is a Hästens. Handcrafted with six generations of experience and made from sustainably-sourced natural materials, a Hästens bed provides the sleep known only to the truly well rested. FIND YOUR NEAREST DEALER AND SEE AN INTERVIEW WITH ELSA HOSK AT HASTENS.COM


H AUTE J O A I L L E R I E Jewellery and Watches exhibition Gstaad Palace - February 16 to 19, 2017 BOUTIQUE CHOPARD GSTAAD: Promenade, +41 (0)33 744 90 44

Profile for Müller Medien

GSTAADLIFE, 17. February 2017  

The exclusive publication about the good life in Gstaad.

GSTAADLIFE, 17. February 2017  

The exclusive publication about the good life in Gstaad.

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