Vitra Design Museum opens Schaudepot

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On 3 June 2016, a new building will open on the Vitra Campus: the Vitra Schaudepot, designed by Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron. The Schaudepot provides the Vitra Design Museum with a venue for presenting key objects from its extensive collection to the public, complemented by a new café and a shop. In this context, a second entry point will be created to the Vitra Campus, enhancing its connections to the cities of Basel and Weil am Rhein.

The collection of the Vitra Design Museum ranks among the most important holdings of furniture design worldwide. It contains some 7000 pieces of furniture, a vast assemblage of lighting objects and numerous archives, as well as the estates of such designers as Charles & Ray Eames, Verner Panton and Alexander Girard. Although the main museum building by Frank Gehry from 1989 was originally conceived to house the collection, the museum utilises the space to stage major temporary exhibitions. To date, the museum’s collection has never been on permanent display.

The Basel-based architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron has now created a new structure for the museum in which the collection will be exhibited and communicated to the public. The centrepiece of the Schaudepot is a permanent exhibition of more than 400 key pieces of modern furniture design from 1800 to the present. The objects shown include early bentwood furniture, icons of Classical Modernism by Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto and Gerrit Rietveld, along with colourful plastic objects from the Pop era and recent designs produced with a 3D printer.

This presentation will be complemented by smaller temporary exhibitions on themes related to the collection, beginning with a look at the ‘Radical Design’ movement of the 1960s. On the lower ground level, the Schaudepot offers insights into additional focal points of the collection, such as Scandinavian and Italian design, the lighting collection and the estate of Charles and Ray Eames.

With the opening of the Schaudepot, the Vitra Design Museum is greatly expanding its exhibition space and its programme. The museum building by Frank Gehry will continue to be used for the large-scale temporary exhibitions and the Vitra Design Museum Gallery will show smaller, experimental projects, while the Schaudepot will display the permanent exhibition as well as one temporary exhibition. All of the museum’s exhibition venues are open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. The exhibitions are complemented by a diverse programme of guided tours, discussions, workshops and other events. Once in operation, the Schaudepot will be one of the world’s largest permanent exhibitions and research facilities on modern furniture design.

The Vitra Schaudepot opens to the public on 3 June 2016.