The Reporter: VitraHaus 10th anniversary

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of VitraHaus

Words by Sophie Tolhurst

On the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, is a building designed by Herzog & de Meuron, a stack of pitched-roof boxes representing the ‘ur-house’ that was commissioned as a space for the newly created Vitra Home Collection. Since VitraHaus opened in 2010 it has been a place of learning for Vitra – an ‘experimental laboratory’ for the Swiss furniture maker as much as a flagship store.

VitraHaus aims to inspire visitors to experiment with their own interiors. Areas are furnished in different ways, and on display are key pieces of furniture design history, such as the Eames Aluminium Chair (itself part of Vitra’s history, having been manufactured on the campus since 1958). The latest addition is an Interior Studio, functioning as a workshop space for interior design consultation.

The Vitra House itself was designed by Herzog & de Meuron
The VitraHaus itself was designed by Herzog & de Meuron

As part of this exploration of home interiors, the top floor – the VitraHaus Loft – has hosted a series of fictional inhabitants, brought to life via interiors from designers including Ilse Crawford, India Mahdavi and Raw Edges. For VitraHaus’ tenth anniversary, US design studio Charlap Hyman & Herrero (CHH) has transformed the loft once again, this time into the apartment of an imagined film director.

CHH aims to create ‘spaces that become worlds unto themselves’, and this fictional world took on a surprising new importance of its own in the wake of Covid-19. As people retreated indoors to quarantine, the practice’s Adam Herrero explains that the ‘loft became a kind of vessel for the things that inspire us and make us come alive’. This included filmic references: ‘the nonchalant placement of furniture and art’ inspired by Antonioni’s trilogy L’Avventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse; a newspaper on a table from a scene in Breathless by Godard; while the bedroom is an homage to Varda’s Cléo de 5 a 7.

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