Everyone remotely interested in interior know the brand and manufacturer Vitra. Many might not know the story of how it all started, how Vitra made Charles and Ray Eames one of our time most recognized design couple and just how many other great designers have become part of the Vitra brand since the beginning. I ventured to the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, just outside Basel, Switzerland, to explore the many great designs and experience the work of renowned architects such as Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid up close.
In 1953 Willi Fehlbaum discovered some chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames while on a trip to the USA and decided to become a furniture manufacturer. Back in Switzerland, he founded Vitra and the rest, as they say, is history. Quickly after introducing Eames furniture on the European market, it all moved very fast for the Vitra brand. George Nelson became part of the family and in 1967 Danish Verner Panton was introduced with his Panton chair – the worlds first cantilever chair out of plastic. The real turning point really came when Vitra entered the domestic market with their Home collection, introduced in 2004. Right when mid-century designed started to become very trendy. Many works of designers were introduced like Alexander Girard and Jean Prouvé, as well as new designers such as Antonio Citterio, Jasper Morrison, Alberto Meda, Maarten van Severen, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Hella Jongerius and Barber Osgerby.
The Vitra Campus is huge; I really loved to see the great architectural work by some of the world’s most renowned architects. I spent a great deal of time in the VitraHaus, of course, built by Herzog & de Meuron. It is Vitra’s flagship store and home to the Vitra Home Collection – which means 4 levels of endless inspiration to home décor and proper opportunities to see all your favorite designs up close. For full disclosure, I may have added a few more Vitra designs to my wish list, and I am sure my office would look so much better with a Prouvé office chair in it.
Photos by Allan Torp
I was invited by the Vitra, which means they covered all expenses in relation to my 2 day visit