Vitra (furniture)

Vitra AG is a Swiss company manufacturing and trading of residential and office furniture, with the headquarters in Birsfelden, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland. Stand-alone stores in 14 countries belong to the group of companies. At the German site in Weil am Rhein is located, since 1989, the Vitra Design Museum.

Furniture Design

At the age of 20 years Willi Fehlbaum became (* 1914) is a shopfitting business in Birsfelden near Basel, which he continuously expanded with his wife Erika to a furniture company. After the war he moved in 1950 their production to Weil am Rhein in Germany, also located near Basel, and named his company Vitra. On a trip to the USA in 1953 Fehlbaum discovered the rich collection of designer couple Charles and Ray Eames. He tried spontaneously to the distribution licenses and received the rights of Herman Miller, the furniture already at that time had a high reputation in the U.S.. To the contract included the designs of Eames and George Nelson. The seating and lounge furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames are still among the most successful products of the company. A large part of the non- literary estate of the furniture designer is since 1988 owned by Vitra.

Design history wrote the Panton Chair of the Danish designer Verner Panton, the Vitra went into production in 1967. In 1976, Vitra's first self-developed office chair on the market, the " Vitramat ".

In 1977, Rolf Fehlbaum the management of the company, his brother Raymond also took a leadership position and continue in charge of the shop fitting business Vizona in Muttenz.

Designs by famous designers and architects such as Antonio Citterio, Alberto Meda, Mario Bellini, Maarten Van Severen, Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Hella Jongerius and Konstantin Grcic be made ​​at Vitra. Bellini samtblauer swivel chair design " Figura " was selected for the plenary hall of the German Bundestag.

Around the turn of the millennium continued Vitra on the idea of open, mobile -plan offices. Globalization increases the mobility of employees, so that correspondingly flexible office modules should facilitate the move away from fixed workplace. Half a decade later modified and relativized to the thesis of a general resolution of work structures and expressed this in the phrase " Net 'n ' Nest " to the concept. Accordingly, the office is a hub of communication ( "Net" ), but which should also offer the possibility of withdrawal ( "nest ").

Verner Panton: Panton, 1959-60

Joe Colombo: Tubo, 1969

Maarten van Severen: Vitra .03 Chair with integrated leaf springs, Flemish Parliament in Brussels, 2005

Mario Bellini: Figura (as seats of the Bundestag )

Park Vitra Campus architecture

The term " Vitra Campus " refers to the architectural ensemble on the company premises of the furniture manufacturer Vitra in Weil am Rhein, Germany.

General characterization

The Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein includes manufacturing, logistics and administration of the company as well as the Vitra Design Museum, other mostly cultural buildings used as well as the designed as a showroom and Visitors Center Vitra house. Gathered in a small space, can be found here a variety of contemporary architectures that were built gradually, by architects such as Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, ​​Alvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA since 1981.

The Vitra Campus has been one of the 1990s to the tourist highlights in the Basel region and is visited annually by now about three hundred thousand visitors from around the world. Individual buildings of the campus, in particular, the Vitra Design Museum ( Frank Gehry, 1989) and the fire station ( Zaha Hadid, 1993) are considered landmarks in recent architectural history.

The term refers to the Vitra Campus With or juxtaposition of different architectural manuscripts and concepts as well as to the different purpose of the individual buildings.


Vitra has since the early 1950s, a production site in Weil am Rhein. The actual history of the Vitra Campus began in 1981, when a huge fire destroyed significant areas of the then existing production and forced the company to build new factories in no time. Rolf Fehlbaum, who had taken over the management of the company four years earlier, recognized the opportunity to combine an architectural realignment with the necessary construction work. After the architect Nicholas Grimshaw had realized a factory building in just six months, he was asked to design a master plan for the further development of the area. The idea was that more buildings arise in the future in the same way and should thus support a technically oriented corporate identity.

On the occasion of 70.Geburtstags the Vitra - founder Willi Fehlbaum, was built in 1984 on the Vitra grounds a large sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. With the " Balancing Tools " mentioned a new sculpture, the world of industrial production expanding element came into play. In the course of this project there was the encounter of Rolf wrong tree with Frank Gehry. As a result of discussions held with him Rolf Fehlbaum moved in the late 1980s, the idea of ​​a building off to the same recognizable design principles. Instead, he pursued since a pluralistic approach, which enabled the development of the area in the sense of equal co-existence of different architectural languages ​​and concepts.

With Frank O. Gehry, who had not yet built up to that point in Europe, missing tree initially projected a factory hall. You should be a small building in front of a furniture collection. It was opened in 1989, the deconstructionist Vitra Design Museum. In addition, the building is the gate that marks the boundary between the public and the predominantly used operationally parts of the campus. No less striking than Gehry's museum The next project has failed on the Vitra Campus: designed by Zaha Hadid, was built between 1989 and 1993 fire station. For Zaha Hadid, who had brought it with its bold architectural visions in professional circles to a certain notoriety, it was the first, realized according to their ideas design. The fire station, which was contrary to some statements functional, was abandoned when Vitra passed from one's own fire brigade to the public fire department. Today the building is used for exhibitions and events. Almost as an antithesis to the expressive architecture of Gehry and Hadid sculptures designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, ​​also completed in 1993 Conference Pavilion is readable. This emphasizes quiet, based on clear geometric shapes building, Ando integrated into the Vitra Design Museum directly adjacent Cherry Meadow, was Ando's first outside Japan realized design.

The final point of the construction activities on the Vitra Campus in the 1990s put the Portuguese architect and Pritzker Prize winner Álvaro Siza Vieira, with a designed by him, in 1994 completed production hall. The sober building, with its red brick dress refers to the old factory buildings of the area, forms a neutral background against which unfolds the dynamics of the adjacent fire station. Imposing the other hand, appears also designed by Siza bridge-like roof structure. Way between his and spans opposite production hall At its steel girders a absenkbares roof is fixed, which lies deep in the rain, thus providing protection for the traffic. In warm weather, it automatically moves upwards to allow a clear view of Hadid's fire station.

After the completion of Siza's projects suffered for nearly one and a half decades no further new buildings on the Vitra Campus, you can see from the two small bus stops once the Jasper Morrison in 2006 realized at the Charles- Eames -Strasse in front of the Vitra site.

On the Vitra Campus are also two structures that were not originally commissioned by Vitra, but have found a permanent home. This is both a "Dome ", which was developed according to the principles of the American inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller. This dome-shaped lightweight construction, which was realized in 1975 by Thomas C. Howard at Charter Industries, since 2000 is in Weil and has since been used for presentations and events. This is basically a 1953 arisen modular prefabricated petrol stations of the French manufacturer and designer Jean Prouvé, which was installed on the campus after a major renovation in 2003.

In early 2010, the Vitra house was opened, which serves as a visitor center for the campus. Designed by the Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron building - composed of seemingly playful stacked, drawn- gabled houses - is the highest and corresponding visible from afar building on the Vitra Campus. Before the factory premises by Vitra is a randomly arranged complex of twelve black gray roof houses piled on five floors. The Vitra House is home to a public showroom of the company, as well as a store, a cafe, a "Lounge Chair Atelier " where visitors artisanal creation of the "Lounge Chair " by Charles and Ray Eames can watch and usable for Events Business Lounge.

During the year 2012, designed by Japanese architecture firm SANAA factory building is completed.

Factory building by Nicholas Grimshaw, 1986

Factory building designed by Frank O. Gehry

Rain cover passage of Álvaro Siza Vieira, in the background Hadid's fire station

Gas station by Jean Prouvé

" Vitra House " by Herzog & de Meuron, 2010 Exhibition

Row of seats on the Vitra House