Text: Kiriaki – Domenika Chandra
In the centre of Zurich along and around Langstrasse street an upcoming area has been created the last few years, noticeable not only for its artistic scene but for the entertainment too. the picture of the area is composed by a rising number of galleries, new artists, bookstores, alternative coffee shops and bars. it is this area that the independent publishing house Nieves chose for getting established, a house that is occupied with the publishing of books of illustrators and artists as well as zines.
Benjamin Sommerhalder, who conceptualised and materialised Nieves, printed in the age of 22 his first magazine entitled ‘Zoo’. His desire to publish even more things was the motivation for issuing the first book and making his house in a short period of time one of the biggest houses internationally in terms of zines. As far as the choice of artists for his zines is concerned, he is using clearly his personal criteria. In case that he likes them he comes in contact with them, offering a particular choice of publishing specifications (dimensions and quality of paper) among which the artist or the creator can choose. Nieves prints 30 to 40 titles per year and every small edition includes around 150 issues/ copies, which are gone very quickly via his successful international distribution and the online store. Benjamin is not rich by his job and he only has two colleagues and one intern for the function of his beautiful company. And it seems almost romantic to see his enthusiasm every time that he gets a new publication offer in his nice office, encircled by hundreds of zines and catalogs. He could love Tokyo, from where he just returned, he could easily move his editions in London, Paris or New York. However, he claims strongly that his house is Zurich and his favorite place in the world is situated somewhere on the river Sihl that crosses the city.