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A historical leader in the production of furniture of design, Vitra is committed to develop smart, top quality solutions for the house, office, outdoor and public spaces. The products and concepts are conceived in Switzerland, through a diligent project development process combining the company engineering excellence with the creative genius of world-renowned designers. For the outdoor Vitra proposes innovative solutions and materials ensuring maximum durability and resistance to time and atmospheric agents. For over 50 years Vitra has been developing innovative, functional and eye-catchy pieces of furniture for the office. In the office furniture domain Vitra continuously seeks solutions for modern and open-plan offices where to communicate and exchange ideas and projects to the best. For what the furniture for public spaces is concerned, this represents an opportunity for Vitra to show the positive impact of design in every environment, including airports, libraries, school buildings, public offices, offices, hospitals, restaurants and hotels.
Vitra products, sheer design icons
Vitra offers a wide collection of furniture of design developed over the years by world-renowned designers like Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Verner Panton, Antonio Citterio, Philippe Starck, Borek Šípek, Mario Bellini, Glen Oliver Löw, Dieter Thiel, Jasper Morrison, Alberto Meda and Jean Prouvé. Furniture from Vitra are solutions that suit any kind of environment to furnish with style by using iconic products from the international design scene. For the house, Vitra proposes a large array of armchairs, sofas, tables, chairs and complements of design. Among them the Lounge Chair or the Plastic Armchair collection by Charles and Ray Eames. Vitra furniture for children are very popular too and among them it is worth to mention the famous Eames Elephant, shaped like an elephant, or the Panton Junior a kids-tailored version of the iconic chair by Verner Panton.
The concept on which the Vitra Home collection founds, is collage. This implies the idea that a space of vibrant life cannot be achieved by adjusting to a unitary plan, but that it would rather gain personality by mixing old and new, classic and contemporary styles. This is the logic that inspired the creation of furnishing elements such as the Alcove sofa by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, allowing to obtain a private and informal corner within the every-day working environments.
Vitra’s history, the history of design
Vitra was founded in 1950 as a family business in Weil am Rhein, in Germany, by Willi Fehlbaum, the owner of a furniture shop in Basel. Following to a fire that in 1981 destroyed the plants, the company commissioned a new factory to the English architect Nicholas Grimshaw. Next to the hall in aluminium, that was ready for production only six months after the fire, a new production plant was erected in 1986 by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza. In 1989 Frank Gehry planned a new building annexed to the other two; the same Gerhy built the “Vitra Design Museum”, originally thought to accommodate the private furniture collection of Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra’s owner. In 1993 Zaha Hadid added a fire station, which today houses a collection of chairs from the Design Museum. In the same year a conference pavilion was built, designed by Tadao Ando.
In 1994 Vitra administrative headquarter was relocated to the general headquarters in Birsfelden (also designed by Frank Gehry), while Alvaro Siza added the shop building to the Weil am Rhein office. Today the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, near Basel, houses the Vitra Design Museum, the VitraHaus and other buildings by world-famous architects among whom Herzog & De Meuron.
Nowadays, companies are increasingly judged in relation to their ecologic, social and economic consciousness. In its vision Vitra does not see this as an imposed duty, but as an intrinsic aspect of design, a part of the company culture ever since. Furniture pieces are precious for Vitra when their production, use and recycling do not damage the people and environment. According to Charles and Ray Eames’s tradition, which has influenced the approach of Vitra to sustainability in many different ways, the durability of a product is crucial for the company to contribute to sustainable development; the short-life-span style is avoided by all means. Some of the classic pieces of the historical Vitra collections are an example of this. Passed on by different owners, they ended up being part of permanent collections in museums. For Vitra the production of sustainable products goes through an intensive pre-production development phase, during which top level materials are selected and tests are performed that simulate a 15 years-long usage. Each individual component should then be easily replaceable and eventually recycled.
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