Mateo Kries

The Vitra Design Museum: From Industry to Culture

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Every design collection inevitably has its own particular take on design history, whether this is due to conscious decisions, subconscious leanings, or the institutional context in which the collection is created. From its beginnings, the Vitra Design Museum has not considered itself a corporate museum, because it selects all its exhibition themes and acquisitions for the collection according to independent criteria, just like any major public institution. Founded in 1989, the Vitra Design Museum is today regarded as one of the leading design museums worldwide. Since its establishment, the museum has been responsible for conserving, studying, publicizing, and developing its collection, leading to the construction of the Vitra Schaudepot in 2016, and its main research and publishing project of the past decades, the Atlas of Furniture Design, which will be published in 2019. Today, the complete collection of the museum numbers some 20,000 objects, such as furniture, lamps, textiles, electrical appliances, cutlery, and architectural models. The origins of the Museum's collection date back to the late 1970s, when Rolf Fehlbaum, the oldest son of Vitra founder Willi Fehlbaum, began to collect pieces of furniture that he personally regarded as pioneering, such as works by Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, Gerrit Rietveld, and Jean Prouvé.


  • Collection
  • Design Museum
  • Design History
  • Furniture Design
  • Institution


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