When I first visited Vitra in 1991, the Frank Gehry designed Vitra Design Museum had only just been completed, and now returning 25 years later there are a whole range of built works on the site. The most prominent, located along from the Gehry building, is VitraHaus designed by Herzog + de Meuron. Looking like a stack of stretched stereotypical ‘house’ forms the design triggers subliminal links to the home and the wide variety of furniture and products that Vitra now produces.
However this is no simple stack – internally there is a complex series of interconnected spaces, overlapping volumes and methods of circulation. It is a joyous building full of surprises, focussing on the products inside while also connecting very successfully with the site outside and the landscape beyond.
As a design aficionado you should allow a few hours to fully explore and appreciate both the building and the ever-expanding Vitra range.
(Should you desire seeing the other buildings on the Vitra Campus, including the Zaha Hadid Fire Station, be prepared to sign up for the 2 hour Campus Tour – see Vitra Design Museum link below.)
Architect: Herzog + de Meuron
Photographer: Stephen Varady
Review: NY Times (14 Feb 2010)
Map: VitraHaus Map
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