The work of George Nelson- if it isn’t broke why fix it?
From its humble beginnings as nothing more than a family business, Vitra has come a long way. Now the standout company when it comes to individuality and design know-how, Vitra first began to make a name for itself through the company’s knack for spotting talent. Taking on the manufacturing responsibilities for the work of now seminal American designers Charles & Ray Eames and George Nelson in the late 1950s was a masterstroke and the firm has continued to build upon this platform ever since, developing a wide range of furnishings for the office, for the home and for public spaces in collaboration with progressive designers.
More than just a furniture manufacturing company, both Vitra’s appreciation of design and the part it has played in its history and evolution is proudly displayed in its very own museum- The Vitra Design Museum. Like the company itself, The Vitra Design Museum collections evolved from modest beginnings in the 1980s to become one of the world’s most important collections of modern furniture. In 1989, the collections included some 1000 objects. In the years since, the archive has grown and grown and today encompasses over 6000 pieces- from chairs to rugs, from table lamps to garden-ware the collection is nothing if not an exploration of the way we live.
This appreciation of the past extends to their most current range of products. Unlike any other furnishings company I can think of, the Vitra Home Collection is not a standardized product line promoting a uniform style, neither is it concerned with keeping up with trends. Rather, Vitra is the trend-setter; the company appreciates that furnishing a home is a gradual process, a collage of ones life even- showing the development of our tastes through the assembling of products and objects. It appreciates that we will always have our favourite chair- whether it fits in or not.
It embraces the organic story of furniture- some items remain, others go, some pieces come to serve different a purpose than originally intended, things that become dated disappear and new things are added- perhaps from a dusty day spent browsing in a flea market or an exotic holiday. The twists and turns are what Vitra are all about, and the individual is always their focus. Vitra does not try to sell us on a concept and it does not dictate the fashion of furnishing, confident in its content it simply displays its wares and allows you to make the right decision- which is generally to fill your house with their furniture!
The Vitra Home Collection offers many unique home products representing over 70 years of design history which complement and enhance the collages that are our homes. Whilst older classics by Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, Jean Prouvé, Verner Panton and Isamu Noguchi can always be found, fans of the contemporary will be wholly satisfied by the work of exciting current greats including Maarten Van Severen, Jasper Morrison, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Hella Jongerius to mention just a few.
In the world of home design where despite the fact that we decorate with longevity in mind, trends come and go like weekends, a fad free company is a rare thing indeed. For over 60 years Vitra has been exactly that- and it promises to be for quite some time to come.