(smow) congratulates: 20 Years Vitra Design Museum

On 03.11.1989 the Vitra Design Museum opened.

On 09.11.1989 the Berlin Wall “fell”.


Almost certainly.
But while the Vitra Design Museum may not be able to claim responsibility for the end of the DDR, it can look back on a remarkable 20 year history and proudly profess to have helped popularise designer furniture and furniture designers.

Initially established as a location where Vitra chairman Rolf Fehlbaum could display his extensive collection of contemporary designer furniture artifacts, the role of the museum quickly expanded.

Vitra Design Museum (with advertising for the current exhibition)

Vitra Design Museum (with advertising for the current exhibition: ANTIBODIES The Works of Fernando & Humberto Campana 1989 - 2009)

An initial exhibition on the work of Ron Arad laid the foundations for further shows either looking at the work of individual designers such as Isamu Noguchi, Frank Lloyd Wright or Joe Colombo or more general, themed, shows exploring subjects such as childrens furniture or aeronautical design. The increasing popularity of the Vitra Design Museum exhibitions is reflected in the visitor numbers; where 23,000 visitors were recorded in 1989, some 86,000 came in 2008.

And not just visitors to Weil am Rhein have profited; a range of travelling exhibitions have enthralled over 350,000 visitors world-wide.

Over the two decades the Vitra Design Museum site has also evolved from the original Frank Gehry building to become a veritable Campus, including production halls and conference facilities. And just as the furniture originates from some of the greatest designers so have the likes of Jasper Morrison, Jean Prouvé and Tadao Ando contributed to the architecture.

The Eames Elephant enclosure at the Vitra Design Museum

The Eames Elephant enclosure at the Vitra Design Museum

An important source of funding for the Vitra Design Museum is it’s range of re-edition and miniature products. In addition to the 1:6 miniatures of classic designer chairs, the Vitra Design Museum collection includes articles varying from Alexander Girard’s wooden dolls over Eames Elephants and on to “new” products such as the Classic Trays or the George Nelson ceramic clocks.

On Sunday November the 8th Vitra invite all to an Open Day in Weil am Rhein to celebrate the Design Museum‘s 20th birthday. In addition to guided tours through the exhibition, collection and buildings you will have the opportunity to decorate your own Eames Elephant.

We can thoroughly recommend the trip!

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