When you think of Swiss cities worth visiting, St. Gallen does not necessarily leap off the map. Our recent trip there has convinced us otherwise: The Old Town is charming, the UNESCO World Heritage Abbey of Saint Gall with the world's oldest library is magnificent, and the red stadtlounge district is, well, simply fun!
Completed in 2005, the stadtlounge has turned into a great example of destination marketing. Attracting tourists was not necessarily the main objective, however. The stadtlounge project resulted from a design competition with the goal of turning St. Gallen's financial district into a public space.
Here are three reasons why you should pay St. Gallen's stadtlounge district a visit:
1. It's the biggest outdoor living room
Complete with sofas, lounge chairs, lamps and a gigantic red rug (duh!), the stadtlounge is a public living room like no other. Why not have a picnic in the "café" area of the square while letting your kids bounce around the furniture in the "relax" section?
2. It's family friendly - and free
A stop at the stadtlounge should be on the program of any urban active family. While some areas are shared with motor vehicles, others are safe for play. There is even a water fountain - completely covered in red plastic! So don't forget to bring an extra set of clothes for your little ones...
A fake Porsche entirely covered in red rubber appeared to be the highlight for many kids during our visit:
3. It's inspirational
The approach of covering an entire city block in red polymer required a fair share of creative thinking. Pipilotti Rist, a visual designer, and Carlos Martinez, an architect, are the brains behind the stadtlounge concept. Their bold approach created spaces to meet, play, relax, and even park your bikes and cars!
Maybe hanging out in the stadtlounge will activate your creativity and give you inspiration for your own projects!