A close look at Vitra reveals an intensive design process, which brings together the company’s engineering excellence with the creative genius of leading international designers.
Tell us about the company history of Vitra. What is one interesting thing that can be found in the Vitra archives?
Vitra is a Swiss family-owned company. The headquarters is based in Birsfelden, near Basel. In 1934, founder Willi Fehlbaum took over the Graeter shopfitting firm in Basel. In the course of the postwar economic expansion, Willi Fehlbaum and his wife Erika establish 1950 the Vitra company in Weil am Rhein. On his first trip to the USA in 1953, Willi Fehlbaum discovered the furniture of Charles and Ray Eames in a New York store. His immediate and enduring enthusiasm for the designs motivated his decision to become a furniture manufacturer.
What is the Vitra Campus architecture at Weil am Rhein?
The Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein reflects the company’s self-image as a cultural and commercial project and its pluralistic conception of design. Production and logistics facilities, museum and exhibition spaces as well as administration and sales areas are found on the premises. The structures that have been erected since 1981 on the company grounds were designed by prominent international architects such as Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank O. Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA.
Where does inspiration come from in the world of Vitra? How does an idea become a Vitra product?
Vitra sees designers not simply as contractors but as authors. The relationship of trust between these authors from all corners of the world and Vitra, who shares their ambitions, is at the very heart of the company’s product development process. Its collaborations are always a synthesis of creative freedom, manufacturing know-how and market knowledge. This tradition was established in the early years of the company, when designers like Eames and Nelson set standards that are still valid today.
The relationship of trust between these authors from all corners of the world and Vitra, who shares their ambitions, is at the very heart of the company’s product development process
Vitra chairs are famous for their unique shapes. What is the story behind the “La Chaise Armchair” from the current collection?
Inspired by the ‘Floating Figure’ sculpture created by Gaston Lachaise, Charles and Ray Eames designed La Chaise as a lounge chair for a competition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This voluminous lounge piece has a captivating elegance and allows a wide range of sitting and reclining positions. La Chaise has long since established itself as an icon of organic design.
What is special about the relationship between Vitra and Luisa Via Roma?
Both the beautiful Florence based showroom and the Luisa Via Roma online store are top destinations for luxury fashion and design fans. Vitra is a company dedicated to improving the quality of homes, offices and public spaces through the power of design, therefore making the relationship with Luisa Via Roma ideal.