VitraHaus & Campus, Germany
A last minute 48 hours in Basel for Design/Miami allowed me to hop over the boarder from Switzerland to Germany & to VitraHaus. Perfect timing also as Vitra were holding their summer party the next day & Discover&Deliver secured an invite. I was officially that girl who got on a plane to go to a party. More on the party later, I first of all visited VitraHaus solo (after my morning at Art Basel) to have a guided tour of the haus & the surrounding buildings. The building was designed by superstar architects Hertzog & de Meuron. Commissioned in 2006, and completed in 2009 VitraHaus was designed primarily to display Vitra’s products in a home environment, and not just a neutral atmosphere like a museum, but an environment suited to the products character and use. Alas, the idyllic Tullinger Hills was the perfect spot. I think I counted 12 houses, all stacked & connected each create an individual ‘house’ to walk through, the term ‘domestic scale’ describes this perfectly. Each showroom is reminiscent of a familiar family surrounding. Each house have the general characteristics of a display space allowing you to picture your own Vitra office or Vitra kitchen. You could get lost in here for hours.
I am proof that people travel to places like this even though they are so remote. What an incredible building, and just the beginning of the architecture tour that you can take in on this campus. This is an architectural concept uniting buildings commissioned by the leading & most influential architects in the world. The Vitra Design Museum to the side of the haus was designed by Frank Gehry in ’89, there is a bus stop designed by Jasper Morrison in ’06, Jean Prouvé designed a little petrol station/DJ booth (originally created in ’53 to be subsequently re-homed here in ’03), there is also a conference pavilion that was designed by Tadao Ando in ’93. You can take the daily Architecture tour to learn a little more about each building.
Akari Lights, Dax Chairs, Coconut Chairs, a Marshmallow Sofa, all available here…
As you arrive into the Haus you are presented with a key card (like the ones you get in hotels) to use as you guide yourself through the building. In every room you will find a tablet where you place your card on the screen to tell you more about the pieces you might be interested in. You can also download PDF’s and create your own personalised design wish list which you are able to either send to your local Vitra dealer or email yourself the information you collected. Amazing idea. I headed straight up in the lift to the fourth floor, the top of the building and spent about 2 hours slowly sitting on every chair, learning a little more about a brand I already thought I knew quite a bit about. Some of these shots capture some of my favourite rooms & products….
The Polder Sofa above, designed by Hella Jongerius in 2005 was inspired by the fields in her native Holland. Remember your birds eye view of countryside fields when you’re flying into Holland? Ok, maybe Gatwick, but you get the idea. It’s a low lying sofa, very flat, much emphasis on the horizontal, just like the fields.
Below was a fun room also, called me+ my, this room allowed you to sit quietly (infront of a mirror?!) I guess to see how you look on the piece? Weird, but it was lovely to just be uninterrupted & take a few minutes to chill out. Below is another wish list piece for me, the Cité armchair by Jean Prouve in 1930. He designed it as part of a competition to furnish the halls of residence at Nancy’s Cité Universitaire. See, a perfect example of a design that you think looks modern but was designed over 70 years ago…
A place to find consistently changing regional food, the Vitra Café. So whilst I sat on my Jasper Morrison Basel chair I enjoyed my plate of sausage in the shape of spaghetti (?!), & though how lucky I was to be there. Tomorrow, the Vitra Party (see below).
A night of rain, Campari, Art Basel people, design fanatics, bread from the pop-up bakery in the factory, more rain, then we couldn’t handle any more rain, rain, rain so back to Switzerland we fled for dinner.
All photographs taken by LWSY with the exception of slide image by Vitra.