Vitra to Launch Home Furnishings Line

Vitra's new line of domestic furnishings, Vitra at Home, includes designs by Jasper Morrison as well as revived classics by Charles and Ray Eames.

In a return to its roots, German furniture company Vitra is readying a new line of domestic furnishings, Vitra at Home. Available in Europe in October and the U.S. in January 2005, the debut collection includes new designs by Jasper Morrison and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, as well as revived classics by Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Verner Panton, and Isamu Noguchi, among others.

The line is driven by an aesthetic Vitra chairman Rolf Fehlbaum calls “collage design”: a mixing of different styles, authors, and time periods. By being showcased in this manner, the collection’s new and old pieces take on fresh and unexpected meanings.

Flexibility and customization are the collection’s common threads. Most of the products can serve multiple functions and be altered as needed; all are also being offered in numerous sizes, materials, and finishes to suit individual tastes.

Clean, geometric lines dominate Morrison’s designs. Among his pieces are the tubular, steel-framed Soft SIM sofa and Soft SIM Low chair, as well as the Cubist Park Family line of chairs and couches. As accompaniment, he offers the Plate Coffee table, with its rounded edges; the Cork Family of stools/occasional tables; and the ATM Dining Table, which shares its framework with an earlier office system Morrison created for Vitra.

The Bouroullecs’ pieces contain softer edges and a sense of impishness. All of their designs are modulated, able to be broken down, re-arranged, and reused. The Zip Rug, for example, comprises wool felt strips that can be added on or subtracted; Self, a construct-it-yourself shelving unit, comes with translucent panels that can serve as a backing, divider, or end piece. The much-documented Algues can be joined together at multiple points to form an organic scrim, curtain, or room divider, while their sister form, the clothespin-like Twig, provide those same options, but with a denser overall effect. Box is a modern take on a storage unit, its plastic, rounded carcass decorated with a finely knit textile. And the Joyn table, like Morrison’s ATM table, borrows from the same vocabulary of form as the brothers’ Joyn office system.

Reissues will augment the debut at Home collection, including pieces from usual Vitra suspect Nelson, whose Daybed (1948), desk clocks (1948-54), and Zoo Timers (1965) will be offered. Aside from Josef Albers’s Nesting Tables (1926-7), another notable product is Sori Yanagi’s Elephant Stool (1954), which will be re-introduced in a new injected-molded polypropylene version and in a choice of four colors. Available in Europe—but not the States—will also be re-editions of the Eames’s Children’s Stool and Children’s Chair (1945), the latter with a heart-shaped cut-out on its back support.

Overall, the collection extends Vitra’s ethic of a respect for history, but willingness to try something new. “When you revere [a piece of furniture],” says Vitra’s Fehlbaum, “you kill its vitality.”

Categories: Furniture