, Silas Gusset

Changing sites

It can be found in almost every fridge: the Thomy tube. Mustard, mayonnaise and tomato puree are the classics, but there are countless others, from horseradish cream to curry madras sauce. Nowadays, the cult brand Thomy is associated with Nestlé, but for a long time it was part of the product range of a Basel company, "Thomi + Franck", whose production halls were running in Basel’s northern district, on what is still known as the Franck Areal. Their main line of business was ready meals. In addition to mustard and mayo tubes, the company was particularly famous for its "Franck Aroma", a coffee substitute. In 1971, Nestlé acquired a majority stake in the Basel-based family business. The global corporation, headquartered in Vevey, later ceased production in Basel and recently sold part of the Kleinbasel site to a local project developer with a vision. They want to transform the former industrial site into a new, sustainable, cultural, start-up and neighbourhood centre. They will present their vision to you at the Industry Night: first with a look at the past, present and future, then with a tour of the Franck Areal.

Franck Areal
Empty Silos at Franck Areal, photo: © Franck Areal / Martin Zeller

The Franck Areal is one of many so-called transformation sites in Basel. No other city in Switzerland has this many sites that have become vacant as a result of deindustrialisation - former marshalling yards, disused factories, deserted bonded warehouses. Local architects and urban developers describe them as 113 hectares of "opportunity land". The city, only 37 km2 in size and increasingly scarce in terms of open spaces, has high hopes for the future development of these sites

Gundeldinger Feld

See how a former industrial site has been shaped to cater urban citizens’ needs on the Gundeldinger Feld behind the SBB railway station. Where the chimneys of the Sulzer Burckhardt machine factory once towered, offices, workshops, leisure and cultural facilities have been built since 2000. Thanks to Kantensprung AG’s continuing dedication, the site has developed into a vibrant neighbourhood centre. Today, over 70 tenants animate the seven halls and eight buildings. You can explore the site and its businesses on the Industry Night.

Gundeldinger Feld
Gundeldinger Feld, photo: © Kantensprung AG


On the southern edge of the city lies an area that has undergone many changes over the past few centuries: 200 years ago, the Dreispitz was an agricultural area, in the 20th century the site held a warehouse and bonded warehouse, and in future it is to become a new urban neighbourhood. As the site’s owner who also holds the building rights, the Christoph Merian Foundation has big plans in store for the Dreispitz, at least that's what the visualisations ↗ by the internationally acclaimed architects Herzog & de Meuron suggest. The site is currently home to numerous companies of various sizes. Some of them will be giving insight into their day-to-day business at the Industry Night: the family-run Götschi company supplies trade and industry with all kinds of tools and machines, from cordless screwdrivers to high-pressure cleaners and workwear. In their specialist shop on the Dreispitz site you can have a look at the range and try it out for yourself. At Regent Lighting you can enter one of the few certified lighting test laboratories in Europe, at OFFCUT the world of upcycling, at ETAVIS the world of the energy revolution and at the regional cult brewery Birtel the secrets of the art of brewing. A visit to the Sutter Begg bakery also promises to be an exceptional experience: Learn all about the daily life of bakers, and get your hands working on that dough. Not far from the bakery, tasteful kitchens, bathrooms and doors are created: At Tschudin, you can experience the material wood with all your senses. The Christoph Merian Foundation will tell you more about the development of the site, and Denkstatt will present straightforward examples of climate-friendly urban development at the Dreispitz’s abandoned railway lines.

Christoph Merian Stiftung
Dreispitz Nord, visualisation: © Christoph Merian Stiftung / Herzog & de Meuron

Site development in Baselland

There are also numerous transformation areas in the canton of Basel-Landschaft (Basel’s countryside). uptownBasel has been building a centre of excellence for Industry 4.0 on the Schoren site in Arlesheim: Once a place of manufacture for locomotives, the site now brings together people, companies, and machines in an agile environment. At the Industry Night, Actemium will show you how robots play their part in this intelligent networking. In times of cybercrime, the smart world of tomorrow also requires a secure digital infrastructure. Axians offers such IT services. At the Industry Night, you will gain exclusive insights into a "Security Operations Centre" that detects and fends off intruders 24/7. Buildings with intelligent energy management hold a great promise for the future - a field in which the global company Siemens Switzerland is market leading. Dive into the world of quantum technology with QuantumBasel, which will ensure that quantum and high-performance computers are available for all these innovative projects.

Uptown Basel
Schorenareal by night, photo: © uptownBasel

The Bachgraben area in Allschwil has experienced a real boom in recent years. The media even spoke of the "Silicon Mile"↗ in the supposed no-man's-land on the border to France. Within just a few years, the area has become a major research and development centre for the life sciences. New buildings shot up like mushrooms, including the new venue for pharmaceutical supplier SKAN. On the Industry Night, you can find out how vaccines are produced aseptically in an isolator at SKAN. The Bachgraben area is not only synonymous with life sciences, but also with the construction industry. KIBAG, a leading Swiss company in the building materials and construction sector, produces concrete on the site and operates a large gravel plant. At the Industry Night, you can mix your own concrete, see the gravel plant from the inside and learn more about the CO2-binding Kibeco concrete. Right next door you’ll find the recycling site of habö, a subsidiary of the Tozzo Group. On the Industry Night, the recycling specialists will give you an insight into the sustainable cycle of building materials cycle - and you can witness how gravel is processed in the new, state-of-the-art excavation washing plant.

SKAN Headquarter
The new headquarters of SKAN, photo: © SKAN

Franck Areal, Gundeldinger Feld, Dreispitz, uptownBasel and the Bachgraben site: On Industry Night, you will have the exclusive opportunity to explore five transformation sites in the region from close up.