In June, Vitra Workspace opened in Weil am Rhein, Germany. A sophisticated showroom that challenges familiar notions of office environments and public spaces, where the furniture is not just on show. In fact, there is a lot more going on.
Vitra is known as a design pioneer. The story began with furniture production back in 1957, and the first pieces of furniture, designed by Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson, are a natural element of Vitra Workspace as the design classics they have since become. But around them, a rich and multi-faceted universe unfolds. New furniture by Hella Jongerius and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec adds new notes to the expression, and the space itself is an interactive playground, designed and choreographed to encourage thinking, learning and dialogue. Between furniture and people. And among people.
Vitra Workspace is located on the first floor of the striking factory building designed by Frank Gehry in 1989. Previously, the space contained numerous small offices, small showrooms and changing rooms, but the designers behind the transformation – designer Jonatan Olivares from Los Angeles and the Swedish architecture and interior designer Pernilla Ohrstedt, who is based in London – tore down the walls in the 1,700-square-metre space. Today, daylight floods the room, and Vitra Workspace features four installations where the furniture sets the stage and encourages interaction. Inviting visitors to experiment, combine, learn and thus find inspiration. The same invitation is found in the workshop space, the materials and reference library and the cafe, which are also part of the interactive showroom.
Work in progress
It is a space without sharp boundaries. Partitions are merely suggested by means of furniture, delicate transitions and changes in material. In this way, the interior design underscores that Vitra Workspace is a work in progress, where the absence of boundaries encourages new possibilities and dynamics. Qualities that also apply to Vitra itself.
The Swiss family-owned company is driven by a keen awareness that the products in the company’s portfolio are interconnected. The workspace, the public space and the private sphere are closely interrelated, and it is this seamless mutual interaction that gives rise to the magic and inspires design with depth. Past and future merge equally seamlessly in reinterpretations of furniture classics and the development of new products through Vitra’s design and architecture partnerships.
The collaboration with Dinesen on the design of Vitra Workspace is closely related to Vitra’s design approach:
‘When selecting Dinesen for our new showroom on the Vitra Campus, we made a choice for functional and aesthetic longevity – the same choice that our customers make when they choose Vitra.’
– Nora Fehlbaum, Co-CEO
Ever since it was founded, Vitra’s core idea has been that the aesthetic of design not only enriches our environment but can also help bring out and cultivate the potential of beauty in everyday life and inspire both perspective and depth.
Vitra Workspace is an inspiring setting for this development. The interactive showroom sets a new standard for the presentation of office furniture in the ever-changing Vitra world.