The Swissbau trade fair in Basel, which will come to a close on Saturday, January 16, is a clearly structured and excellent overview of the entire construction trade.
It actually starts right after you cross from Germany into Switzerland, that pleasant and typically Swiss and yet somehow indefinable joie de vivre as expressed primarily by the relaxed and friendly mien people have about them. Somehow, pressure and the hectic pace that otherwise so often infects trade fairs seem absent. Here, you have time for a longer chat or a coffee. Here, thanks to the marvelous structuring of all the exhibition areas and the signage you swiftly find what you are looking for. Here, an architect also encounters the key companies from all the different areas of construction. Swissbau, which after a pause of three years will now take place every other year, alternating with Munich's Messe Bau trade fair, would seem to have got a lot of things right.
Compact, informative and well-structured, those are the adjectives best used to describe life in the three major exhibition halls, which are dedicated respectively to: Building Shells; Interior Finishing; Technology and Building Sites. Hall 4 is devoted to Information, Concept and Planning. And there you will also find institutions and teaching academies represented, as well as "Swissbau Real Estate", a forum for property developers and marketers.
Without doubt, one of the highpoints is the new "Bathroom Trends" in Hall 2, where the champions of the design scene, such as Dornbracht, Alape, Vola, Hansgrohe, Duravit, KWC, Villeroy&Boch etc. all have attractive and spacious presentations.
That said, the trade visitors and architects will also come across the industry leaders in the areas such as: Kitchens (Poggenpohl, Gaggenau, Miele, Leicht und sogar IKEA Küchen) Wand/Boden/Decke (Armstrong, Emco, Object Carpet, Marburger Tapetenfabrik, Vorwerk, Thermopal, Antolini, NH Akustik6Design); Doors, Gates and Windows (Skyframe, Berger Metallbau, Velux, Hörmann, Dorma, Solarlux, Glas Trösch); Facades (KME, Schott, Haver&Boecker, Eternit, Raico, VM Zink, Lignatur, Noe, Glas Marte, Colt, VM Zink); and Building Automation (Siedle). The lion's share of the exhibitors and visitors may come from Switzerland, but the trade fair is definitely not provincial, as major foreign corporations are likewise at hand in the form of their Swiss representatives, and there are countless outstanding exceptions from Austria, Germany, and Italy, for example.
Many of the presentations this year center on the notion of sustainable building, on which there is also a major special exhibition. Moreover, the trade fair is accompanied by an extensive program of events, including lectures, special shows, awards ceremonies, and symposiums, making Swissbau in our opinion a high-quality and meaningful port of call for architects, interior designers, planners and developers.