As a long-time leader in the design furniture production, Vitra
is focused on the development of intelligent, high-quality solutions for residential, office
, outdoor and public spaces
. The products and concepts are developed in Switzerland by applying a diligent design process that combines the company's experience, conceptual expertise and engineering knowledge with the creative genius of internationally renowned designers. With its classics Vitra represents groundbreaking 20th century design.
Vitra: corporate history
The swiss family business Vitra was founded in 1950 in Weil am Rhein, Germany, by Willi Fehlbaum, owner of a furniture store in Basel. In 1981, following a fire that destroyed the production facilities, the company commissioned the English architect Nicholas Grimshaw with the outline of a new factory. Next to the aluminium industrial hall, raised in only six months' time, was built in 1986 another production facility by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza. In 1989, Frank Gehry designed yet another building next to the first two. The same Gehry also accounts for what later was to become the "Vitra Design Museum" and, originally, was intended to house the private furniture collection of Rolf Fehlbaum. In 1993 Zaha Hadid added a fire station which currently houses a collection of the Design Museum. In the same year a pavilion for conferences was built after a design by Tadao Ando.
In 1994, Vitra's administrative offices moved to the nearby Birsfelden, in Switzerland. The same year Alvaro Siza added the shop building to the production site in Weil am Rhein. Today, the "Vitra Campus" is home to the Vitra Design Museum, the Vitra Haus and other buildings, each of them closely linked to the name of an internationally renowed architects, like Herzog & De Meuron.
Vitra design classics
The Vitra catalogue offers an extensive collection of contemporary furnishings that comprises timeless pieces contrived by high profile designers like Charles e Ray Eames, George Nelson, Verner Panton, Antonio Citterio, Philippe Starck, Borek ?ípek, Mario Bellini, Glen Oliver L?w, Dieter Thiel, Jasper Morrison, Alberto Meda e Jean Prouvé. Vitra's home collection, apart from offering an extraordinary assortment of sofas and armchairs
, tables and chairs
, features undisputed classics like the famous Lounge Chair
or the Plastic Armchair
collection by Charles and Ray Eames. Also very popular is the Vitra's collection of children's furniture. Worth mentioning here, for instance, the famous Eames Elephant
or Panton Junior
, a children's version of the classic chair designed by Verner Panton. The conceptual idea behind the Vitra Home Collection is that of a collage or, in other terms, the firm believe that a vibrant living space is not obtained by uniformity, but gains character by blending the old with the new, classic with contemporary elements.
For the outdoors Vitra offers solutions in highly innovative and weather-resistant materials that are made to withstand the test of time. But the company has developed innovative office furniture, as well. For more than 50 years Vitra excels in creating functional and aesthetically appealing solutions for office spaces and is constantly looking for new ways and concepts that can improve the communication process and the exchange of ideas. The company's efforts in this regard have yielded gems like the Alcove
collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Last but not least, also in furnishing public spaces Vitra proved the positive influence of design in any possible environment: airports, libraries, educational institutions, government agencies, offices, hospitals, restaurants and hotels.
Today, companies are increasingly being judged on what they are doing to take on ecological, social and economic responsibility. Vitra does not see this responsibility as a duty that has to be forced upon the company, but rather as an aspect of design that has always been a part of the company’s industrial culture. At Vitra, it goes without saying that furniture is valuable when its production, utilisation and recycling does not harm people or the environment.
Following in the tradition of Charles & Ray Eames, who have influenced Vitra’s approach to sustainability in many ways, product longevity is central to the company’s contribution to sustainable development; short-lived styling is avoided at all costs. This can be seen most clearly in the classical pieces of furniture that have been used for decades, had several owners and have then even ended up as a part of a collection.
For Vitra, the manufacture of sustainable products means intense pre-production development, where the highest-grade materials are selected and tests are carried out that simulate 15 years of use. Individual components should be easy to replace and ultimately recycled.