Bruno Weber was a Swiss artist and architect, specialising in fantastic realism. I had to look this term up, and really fell in love with the definition, which is: “a genre where fantasy elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if elements like this were part of everyday life? I frequently find myself wishing that my daily surroundings were more beautiful and magical, and of course art is a huge part of this. Another example, not of fantastic realism but of art enhancing the ordinary are the comic book murals in Brussels.
For some reason, I always leave planning every trip itinerary until the very last minute. Unless it’s a long stay, you can usually find me frantically trawling through Tripadvisor the night before and packing thirty minutes before leaving for the airport. Our short trip to Switzerland this summer was no exception. I nearly missed the Bruno Weber sculpture park as it’s not actually in Zurich but Dietikon, a nearby town, so Tripadvisor didn’t show it. Luckily I found a blog post about it the day before we left for Zurich, as it ended up being my favourite part of that side of Switzerland.
The park is around 15km from Zurich, in Dietikon. It’s easy to get to by train, bus or car, and the surrounding area is pretty and rural so you could spend a relaxing day there if you have time (we didn’t).
When you enter the park, it’s like a dream (or nightmare!) becoming reality. I personally loved it, but my other half found the expressions of some of the sculpted creatures unnerving. I will admit – it would be terrifying at night.
It’s not a very big park but the sculptures are plentiful so if you enjoy photography you could spend quite a while getting some very interesting shots.
In addition to the sculptures are several buildings, bridges and towers. There weren’t too many visitors when we went but many had brought children who did venture up the steps and over the bridges where I was reluctant.
I did, however, try the swing! I hadn’t been on one since I was a kid, it was a lot of fun but made my stomach flip unpleasantly. I suppose being heavier creates more centripital force so it’s not as nice as when you’re child-sized…
Something else which attracted the children was a huge stone animal with steps hidden in its tail. When you climb up, you find a small viewing space and these mysterious painted locked doors.
The piece pictured on the left was actually a large horn, you could blow into the back and the sound would echo through the creature’s mouth.
The building on the left was the artist’s home. The park is now run by the Bruno Weber Foundation and his wife, Maria Anna.
I loved every part of this park but the area above was my favourite. I can imagine someone (me please!) hosting a flamboyant wedding here. It’s hard to believe, but the arches of the dragons’ backs were a walkway. I was too scared to go up, unfortunately.
Beside the pond was an indoor area with seating and some fireplaces. For some reason, it conjured images of artists sitting around eating fondue beside the fireplace. I wonder if that ever happened here. I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I’m so glad that I found out about it at the last minute, it’s one of my favourite places in the world!
Bruno Weber Skulpturenpark