«The shrimp is actually a very comfortable neck-pillow (one of my more useful items in this series).»
«My style? A mix between trash and aristocratic. Layers of heavy fabrics with a bit of Lord Byron, Cold War aesthetics and updated new rich jet-set from Dynasty thrown in.» Roger Meier pauses a moment for dramatic effect only to burst out laughing. He is, of course, spot-on. The 31-year-old art history graduate is a master of outré sartorial swagger and an ardent disciple of the lethal Wildean bonmot. Assets which come in handy for the cultural affairs agent whose ever expanding portfolio includes brand building for Opia concept store and masterminding the Vienna Talks at Art Basel in collaboration with Neutral Zurich.
«Can you see the collar of my prada military-shirt corresponds with the painting behind me? This is not a coincidence.»
«I’m currently very inspired by the cold war era, its tales of espionage and secret service, John Le Carré – but also by what happened politically and in art. In terms of style, I love the borderline ugly fashion.» Roger reclines on the apricot leather chaise longue in his apartment in the “Resistance” building in booming Zurich West. Like its most idiosyncratic resident, the “nail house” stubbornly stands its ground, refusing to make way to local government property development plans. Meier’s counter-intelligence measures and legal interventions right up to the Swiss Federal Court won the building seven extra years. However: «In a year’s time, my dining room will be replaced by a road.»
But then, ch-ch-ch-changes and facing the strange are part of this citizen’s DNA. Resting his head on a shrimp print neck-pillow, Meier expands on why he prefers to be his own boss, walking the fine line between posing and positions, art and commerce: «People often ask me why I didn’t become an artist or a fashion designer. Frankly, I don’t fancy going on people’s nerves for the rest of my life. Also, I’m not enough of a business person or into planning a career. Besides, I find it hilarious when people still raise eyebrows when an artist does a handbag collaboration. The idea that art is intellectually sustainable is so obsolete. As to designing fashion: it would infuriate me greatly to see my designs going from luxury items to bargain bin within five years.»
«My breaths will be deep and my heart open»
Those accustomed to feeling the pointy end of Meier’s critical pencil are probably shifting in their seats. But regard the self-confessed “Contemporary Renaissance nerd” as a movie of his own editing and you’ll find its leading character has all the essential post-ness: he is cheeky, irreverent, wide-eyed, scurrilous, slightly lurid. Asked what dish describes his personality best, Meier deadpans: «Toast Hawaii and for dessert Belle Hélène.» A show-horse he may be, but Roger Meier knows how to run the course at a gallop.