Stephanie Lüscher turns the food of The Netherlands into the mountains of Switzerland
Greetings from a flat country sees Stephanie creating a tribute to the mountains she grew up with in Switzerland through the food of The Netherlands, in a tongue-in-cheek nod to her new (very) flat home.
- Ruby Boddington
- 12 December 2019
Being away from home can be tricky. Everything feels different: the food, the people, the landscape. While it’s not always a case of wishing you lived in your home country again, there’s no denying the comfort of the familiar. Art director Stephanie Lüscher grew up in Switzerland, close to the mountains where she spent her childhood hiking. “My grandfather used to be a mountain climber,” she tells us. “Mountains have always had a special place in my life and, especially since I’ve lived abroad, I’m a bit obsessed with them.”
Today, she lives in Amsterdam where she works for KesselsKramer and, while she loves the city, as soon as she leaves its urbanised environment, “I get a little depressed looking at the flat landscapes. (The highest point of The Netherlands is 322.4 metres!!)” As a tribute to her love of an undulating landscape, Stephanie produced Greetings from a flat country, (the first of her “millions of ideas for personal projects” that she’s actually brought to life), a series depicting the foods of The Netherlands piled high like the mountains of Switzerland.
Stephanie first moved to Amsterdam in January 2017, having spent some time in Zurich before that. While growing up, she “was literally always the worst at drawing,” but knew she was creative, and would spend her time making magazines on Word for her grandparents. This digital expression led her to study graphic design, but it was the advertising world in which she eventually found her home.
“For me,” she begins, “the advertising world puts way less attention on the aesthetic of things. It’s all about the big idea, that could win an award, instead of a nicely designed campaign. Looking at different agencies and studios in the creative field, I felt I had to decide between realising fun ideas in advertising or designing ‘hip’ books and posters, in which the graphic design often doesn’t follow a certain purpose, but is more to ‘design for designers’. I always try to give graphic design and concept the same importance in the process. At KesselsKramer these beliefs are encouraged and I have been working there as an art director since my internship in 2016.”
Her colleagues at KesselsKramer describe her as a “Swiss pocket knife”, both because of her roots but also because of her approach to creativity. As someone who worked in advertising from the get-go, Stephanie switches effortlessly between styles and media, the one consistent being a strong idea. Greetings from a flat country is the perfect example of this.
She tells us about the project in more detail: “In 2017, I left the Swiss mountains for a country in which the highest mountains are the speed bumps on the road, The Netherlands. Every now and then my parents send me a typical postcard of the mountains back home. Each breakfast, lunch and dinner I sit with these cards hanging over my dining table staring at me. The question of which postcard to send in return always looms over me; no prostitutes, no weed, not the Heineken brewery nor Anne Frank’s house. That’s when it came to me; as an answer to the lush slopes on the postcards sent by my parents, I decided to create my own alpine-inspired postcards from the low lands. Because where The Netherlands has no high altitude scenery, it does have many traditional foods only the Dutch seem to enjoy. Greetings from a flat country is a mountain range which shows the summits of Dutch cuisine. Nothing monumental or grandiose, just the simplest reflection of my newly adopted culture: the food.”
The series was shot by Pim Top, a photographer Stephanie wanted to work with as “he always try to find the light and angle that works best for the image,” and because “he also likes a very sharp image and heavily stylised composition.” Stephanie then combined each photograph with a made-up name for the mountain – an amalgamation of a German word for mountain, of which there are many, and the name of the food itself – and the actual height of the mountain. The result is a funny, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, series which pokes fun at, while also expressing the things Stephanie loves about her new home.
GalleryStephanie Lüscher: Greetings from a Flat Country. Photographed by Pim Top
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.