Featuring furniture and home accessories, the Vitra at Home collection debuts in the US in January, 2005. The catalog offers exciting new designs from the likes of the Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Jasper Morrison, alongside refocused classics that we love so well, from Eames, Nelson (Pill Desk Clock on the left - original 1954), Panton, Noguchi and others. Ahh, I hear you say, if only we 'owned' so well...
Company chairman, Rolf Fehlbaum, drew upon Vitra's near mythological history when defining the new design direction. "Vitra at Home, reminds us of our beginnings." He said. The company was founded in 1950 by Fehlbaum's furniture maker father, Willi. and achieved prominence upon licensing those famous Eames' and Nelson designs from Herman Miller for manufacture and distribution in Europe in the late 1950s and 1960s.
From there, Vitra's evolution saw it become an innovator in office and contract furniture.
"For many years I have wanted to see Vitra more active in the residential field. Now the time has come to make this strategic move." Fehlbaum said recently.
Many of those original designs were universal in their appeal in the sense that they worked both in the home or office.
As he envisions the future of Vitra at Home, Rolf Fehlbaum recognizes in new social norms antecedents dating far further back than the 1950s of the original Eames and Nelson designs.
Twig, the perfect room divider.
"A medieval town house was not just a family home," Rolf says, "it was also a manufacturing place, a shop, a place where relatives and business partners would stay when they were in town." With the industrial revolution came the separation of work from home. Home became a refuge. It's not difficult to see the burgeoning cult of the home office and the free to telecommute 24/7 world as belonging to the Dark Age. Who'd have guessed writing this over a wireless network at 3am would be so medieval? All credit to Rolf for recognizing that. The boundaries everywhere, are gone. The home, the former refuge, is now more often a live/work space and has traversed a full medieval circle. If it's true and we're stuck with it, then Vitra at Home maybe our only saving grace.
Jean Prouv?©, Bahut storage unit reissue (1950).
Offering what Rolf terms the 'collage approach' to the interior., and sounding to me like a perfectly composed eclectic mash up of confluencing color, textiles and texture. Vitra makes no bones about drawing on its undeniably iconic history. Its got it and they know it. But with Jasper, Ronan and Erwan, Vitra is hitting all the right new spots too. The introduction of Vitra at Home is one of the first things to feel really good about going into 2005.
By the way, since the boundaries are gone, maybe I should add that if this all sounds to you like Target marketing minus the reasonable price tag, after all, Philippe Starck has been found in both catalogs. It's true to say that Vitra at Home offers delights for all sizes of pocketbook. That is a good thing because the last time I brought something home from 5001 on 2nd Street, I had to call the captain of the outsideleft little league team to tell them they'd need to get a new sponsor.