Herzog & de Meuron design new gallery for Vitra
Swiss architecture practice complete second project in Germany for giants of the design world
The Vitra Campus in Germany has long been a mecca for aficionados of contemporary architecture. The headquarters of the Swiss furniture brand is already home to buildings from big hitters including the late Zaha Hadid and Jasper Morrison in London, Portugal’s Alvaro Siza, Renzo Piano, Japan-based Tadao Ando and SANAA, and Canadian-born Frank Gehry. Now, local heroes Herzog & de Meuron have been asked back for a second project.
The Basel-based architects have just completed a new gallery to house the permanent collection of the 1989 Gehry-designed Vitra Design Museum at Weil am Rhein.
Called the Schaudepot, it will open in June and will showcase the brand’s 7,000-strong industrial furniture design and lighting collection. This important collection includes the estates of highly influential designers like Verner Panton, Charles and Ray Eames, Anton Lorenze and George Nelson. These pieces are preserved by the museum’s own conservation workshop.
Gehry’s 700sq m building will continue to accommodate temporary exhibitions, and is currently hosting a show on the late Alexander Girard, who was one of the most influential textile artists and interior designers of the 21th century.
The Schaudepot follows H & de M’s VitraHaus showroom for its residential furniture collection, which was completed in 2010, and joins factory buildings by SANAA and Siza, Morrison’s polished steel bus stop of 2006, and Hadid’s much-lauded fire station.
Work on the campus started in 1981 with Nicholas Grimshaw’s factory buildings. This was in response to a major fire which destroyed most Vitra’s 1950s factory buildings. The site was then “developed into a heterogeneous ensemble of contemporary architecture”, says Vitra.