Vitra- A European Project with American roots recently opened up at the Philadelphia Musem. The exhibition traces the Vitra Company from from it’s founding by Willi and Erika Fehlbaum in 1957. In 1977, Rolf Fehbaum joined the family company and launched their architecture program with the building of a new factory designed by Nicholas Grimshaw in 1981 after a fire destroyed a substantial part of the original factory. The architectural program continued with other building commissions including the Vitra Design Museum by Frank Ghery, a fire station designed by Zaha Hadid, a conference pavilion by Tadao Ando, and VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron with more building commissions scheduled.
The exhibition’s main focus includes historical objects and archival material that represent their American roots including designs by Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and Alexander Girard. Contemporary products manufactured throughout their existence also is included in this exhibition. The title “European Project” implies that their work continues with numerous new furniture, objects and buildings planned into the future.
Great exhibit- worthwhile if you love design, architecture and want to honor how a visionary has pushed a company to continue to provide excellent products.