The Vitra Design Museum is one of the world’s leading design museums. He devotes himself to the research and presentation of design, past, and present, and examines the relation of design to architecture, art, and everyday culture.
In the museum’s main building, Frank Gehry, the museum annually hosts two major temporary exhibitions, including solo retrospectives such as “An Eames Celebration” (2017), about designers Charles and Ray Eames, “Alexander Girard. (2016) or Alvar Aalto (2014), as well as great exhibitions such as »Hello, Robot. Design between human and machine« (2017) »The Bauhaus #itsalldesign« (2015) or »Lightopia« (2013). smaller ones are presented at the Vitra Museum Gallery, which often follows a more contemporary and experimental approach.
Vitra Schaudepot, which was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, features approximately 400 key objects from the extensive collection and therefore resembles one of the largest permanent collections and research sites on modern furniture design worldwide.
Each year, the presentation is expanded by three to four smaller exhibitions, with a specific focus on items in the collection. Often developed with renowned designers, many of the museum’s exhibits cover highly relevant contemporary themes such as future technologies, sustainability or issues such as mobility and social responsibility. Others are presenting historical topics or monographic exhibits on iconic designers.
The work of the Vitra Design Museum is based on its collection, which includes not only the main objects of the design history but also the properties of several important personalities of the area.
The museum library and the document archive are available to researchers upon request. The museum designs their exhibits for tours, and they are displayed in locations around the world. At the Vitra Campus, they are complemented by a diverse program of events, guided tours, and workshops.
The Vitra Design Museum was founded in 1989 by the company Vitra and its owner Rolf Fehlbaum. It has its headquarters in a building of the Californian architect Frank Gehry. Originally conceived as a private collector’s museum, the museum initially produced smaller unique exhibitions, such as that of Erich Dieckmann or the then little-known Ron Arad.
In the 1990s, the first major internationally acclaimed exhibitions were presented by the museum, including retrospectives on Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright and Luis Barragán, along with influential thematic exhibitions on Czech Cubism and the future of mobility. At the same time, the museum began its system of highly successful traveling exhibitions and began to develop its own product lines to help finance the cultural activities program.
At the same time, the museum’s collection was continually expanded and an independent publisher was established. In 2011, the museum inaugurated a second exhibition space, the Vitra Design Museum Gallery. Since 2016, an initial selection of the collection can be viewed online. From 1989 to 2010, the museum was led by its founding director Alexander von Vegesack. Since 2011, the museum is run by Mateo Kries and Marc Zehntner.
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