VitraHaus: A design project on the German-Swiss border

On the outside, there are ceilings; Inside, it has everything (and a little more) that a house needs. Maybe that’s why the feeling when you go to VitraHaus is just to be in several houses at the same time.

Species of House Permanent color, it presents all the extensive portfolio of the Swiss company Vitra – one of the leading references in contemporary furniture in the world. One room leads to another, one environment pulls the other, with the design as the guiding thread of an enchanted world.

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But make no mistake about it. All parts are very real and marketed. Many of the furniture, such as chairs and armchairs, will be part of the decoration of the House of Switzerland, a structure that Switzerland is setting up on the Lagoon and which will be its headquarters during the Rio Olympiad, open to the public at From 1 August.

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It looks like a “museum of great news”, with an architectural design that, even if only seen at a distance, would be worth an escape to the city of Weil am Rhein, Germany, and close to Basel, Switzerland.

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It is on the border between the two countries that, in 2010, the design of the Swiss office Herzog & de Meuron took shape. In the curriculum of architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are iconic works such as the Tate Modern in London and the National Olympic Stadium, better known as the Bird’s Nest in Beijing. The brand new Tate annex, called the Switch House and opened last month in the English capital, is also their project. Knowing and visualizing other works of the duo helps to understand the proposal of VitraHaus, which takes to the extreme the concept of showroom. In a spectacular architectural structure, the decoration and the design have a huge stage to shine.

In the 12 houses coupled and distributed in five floors, environments common to houses that could be from Brazil or Japan succeed, but with one foot in reality and another in fantasy. A living room leads to a dining area, which leads to a living room, which leads to a reading corner. A profusion of furniture and accessories, millimetrically arranged, form environments. In the most different formats and colors, there are sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs, benches, puffs, etc. From the ceiling hang the most different models of luminaires, from the simplest to the most conceptual. On the walls and on the furniture, pictures and accessories of the most diverse give charm to domestic spaces, but that would also make beautiful in commercial places like restaurants and bars. Rugs, curtains and blinds complete the work, “dressing” all enclosures. Classic pieces blend into novelties, enhancing the contemporary mood.

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The showroom is constantly changing, and professionals from all over the world are invited to create and renovate environments. Since March, a loft is occupied by the imagination of the architect and designer India Mahdavi, Iranian based in France. Her inspiration was “Alice in Wonderland”, with the right to a giant teapot that, stuffed with cushions, serves as a lounge; Cloud-shaped luminaire; Rabbit, top hat and plant pot gracing a glass wall.

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VitraHaus is part of a large complex named Vitra Campus, which also has venues for exhibitions and courses, covering all stages of design. And Herzog & de Meuron is just one of the world’s architectural references who sign designs there, alongside Tadao Ando, ​​Zaha Hadid and Nicolas Grimshaw. The Vitra Design Museum, to give you an idea, has a Frank Gehry project, and in its galleries they have already passed retrospectives of Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright and Luis Barragan.

Everything there, therefore, is an ode to design and creation. Even the names of the streets. To go from the museum to the showroom, for example, you have to pass by Ray Eames Street.

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source: Design Magazine

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