| VITRA / MILAN INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2007
Vitra is committed to the development and manufacture of high quality furniture, products are created in close cooperation with internationally renowned designers.
Vitra designs the places where people work; be in the office, at home, or on the road. The goal: to make the place of work as appealing, productive and healthy as possible. Its furniture is to be found in countless successful companies and organizations, as well as in the homes of many private individuals with a feel for design. Active internationally, we work together with the major designers of the day.
For over 50 years now it have been manufacturing the furniture created by the famous US designers Charles and Ray Eames and also George Nelson, Jean Prouvé, Verner Panton, Alberto Meda, Mario Bellini, Antonio Citterio, Jasper Morrison.
Worker Sofa, design Hella Jongerius
Hella Jongerius' ability to observe and interpret the way people live in today's world – analysing contemporary needs with great precision and responding with thoughtful, meaningful objects – is clearly manifested in her latest product for Vitra, the Worker Sofa. This two-seater, which in formal terms is a double version of the homonymous chair that was introduced last year, is first and foremost a communicative piece of furniture. We are all familiar with a variety of situations, like everyday conversations during meal preparation or a spontaneous chat on the telephone, for which neither the living room nor the desk is a suitable setting. The Worker Sofa offers an ideal solution in this context – not too big, but comfortable enough to provide a cosy spot for reading the morning newspaper. With regard to construction and material, it is fundamentally the same as the chair. However, the complementary fabrics on the pillow pads of the twin backrest almost make it seem as if two good friends were sitting next to each other, engaged in intimate conversation.
Polder Sofa XS, design Hella Jongerius
Furniture with leather upholstery always looks elegant and dignified, but often somewhat conservative. So it might initially seem surprising that Hella Jongerius Dutch designer, together with Vitra, is now introducing a dark leather version of the Polder Sofa XS.
Against the background of the dark brown nappa leather, the various red hues of the stitching and buttons almost begin to glow. Their vigour and charm immediately dispel potential associations with staid, traditional furnishings.
Worknest, design Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
Vitra is now introducing this office swivel chair for facilitates teamwork, easy communication and interaction, on the one hand. On the other hand – and herein lies its special quality – it reflects a fundamental commitment to the "Nesting" concept. It accommodates the need of employees for a semi-private space, for individuality and a sense of personal well-being – a need that has been previously neglected in the open plan office. Especially in an open space work environment, the desire for privacy and a touch of domesticity is not merely legitimate: its fulfilment is extremely important for the inspiration and motivation of individuals. This awareness was the impetus for the development of Worknest.
For this reason, special consideration was given to emotional aspects of the chair's design. With its curving, enveloping shape and comparatively soft upholstery, the chair gives an immediate impression of calm invitation. The armrests, which seem to grow naturally out of the seat cushion, are not just a uniquely recognisable design element of Worknest. Together with the actual seat cushion and backrest, they define an interior space that gives the user a pleasant feeling of cosy comfort, like an armchair.
Colour is a fundamental design element of this chair. The psychological effect of colours and their influence on people's sense of well-being is long established, having been substantiated by many scientific studies. While working on this chair, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec took the aptly articulated observation of Verner Panton to heart: "One sits more comfortably on a colour that one likes". For the upholstery cover, they assembled a palette of seven different hues, whose earthy warmth has an effect that is both calming and invigorating. The carefully chosen colours not only emphasise the homelike character of it; they also contribute to a positive identification with the office environment. State-of-the-art knitting technology has been used to produce the precisely fitted upholstery covers for this chair. This robust knit enhances the quality of the chair and contributes to its functional longevity. Because of its extraordinary elasticity, the knitted cover fabric adapts effortlessly to the height adjustment of the armrests. Thanks to its special characteristics, this knit offers further advantages: the cover is custom fit to the shape of the chair, thereby eliminating the need for seams or folds, which can be irritating. In addition, the high breathability of the knit cover, in comparison to denser woven fabrics, enhances seating comfort. It naturally incorporates all of the technical features that are expected of an office swivel chair in the modern work environment: a synchronised mechanism, adaptable backrest resistance, height-adjustable armrests and an individually adjustable lumbar support. However, this hidden technology plays a subordinate role in the chair's appearance. For the exemplary degree to which it fulfils the demands placed on a contemporary office chair is not evidenced in its technical features, but in the calming, homelike touches it brings to the highly standardised, even sterile world of the office.
Slow Chair & Slow Chair Ottoman, design Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
It is a successful new interpretation of the classic armchair utilising the most current technology. This inviting lounge piece, which counts Eero Saarinen's famous Womb Chair as well as Hans J. Wegner's Flag Halyard Lounge Chair among its typological and aesthetic "ancestors", uses an extremely strong, precisely shaped knit which is stretched over the frame of the chair like a fitted stocking. The frame is merely comprised of tubular steel ring for the seat designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, a screwed-on bow-shaped extension that forms the contour of the arms, backrest and four cast aluminium legs. On the periphery of the fabric, where the textile membrane is connected to the frame, the densely knit edge casings completely conceal the enclosed steel tubing. The knitted sling cover gives the armchair its essential comfort. A light inlayed seat cushion and two small backrest cushions increase the softness and augment the excellent ergonomic qualities of the chair. Thanks to the thin translucence of the fabric sling, this generously proportioned piece of furniture is amazingly lightweight - both visually and physically. Consequently, it is easy to move the Slow Chair from one place to another, and it is also suited for temporary outdoor use.
The subtly concave surface of the Slow Chair Ottoman, is just slightly lower than the seat of the companion armchair. Its symmetrical tubular steel frame can be described as a rectangle with rounded corners and gently bowed sides. The short sides of the frame are mounted on two pairs of cast-aluminium legs. Like the chair, it is also covered with a fitted knit sling, and a flat cushion provides added comfort.
Alcove Sofa, design Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
The word "alcove", which is derived from the Arabic term al-qubba, designates a recess in a wall or a secluded niche in a room that is padded for sleeping or sitting. An alcove creates a space for solitude and retreat, with its own ambience and acoustics.
In a similar way, a sofa can also transcend its conventional role as a piece of furniture to become a room within a room. The designers found inspiration in this idea for the development of the Alcove Sofa. With its exceptionally soft cushions and high, flexible side and back panels, the sofa offers shelter and security in a defined space. It creates a private, intimate setting in the midst of daily life. The pliant, upholstered side and back panels promote a relaxed, healthy seating posture and quickly impart a feeling of calmness. Soft seat and back cushions invite the sitter to sink deeply into the sofa. Due to its high side and back panels, the standard version of the Alcove Sofa has already been described as a piece of furniture that defines a space within a space - offering an ideal place for temporary withdrawal and seclusion. This inviting sofa, which is suited to a wide variety of uses, conveys a feeling of shelter and security.
In the new Alcove Sofa Highback, this characteristic is even more pronounced: The side and back panels have been extended even further, so that they project well beyond the head level of the sitter. Originally conceived for offices and contract businesses, where it can serve as an intimate 'nesting' area that offers both visual and acoustic protection from the surrounding environment, the sofa can also be used in the domestic setting. In the home it is especially effective in large rooms or in visually exposed areas, where it reveals its distinctive advantages.
BaObab, design Philippe Starck
In the hundred years of modern office design starting with Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building the office desk has gone through many manifestations. A common thread of much of what happened was the fusion of the table with aspects of a machine. Adjustments of all sorts, legs, glides (later castors), storage, drawers, locks, etc. became themes of office furniture development. They were driven by changes in office technology and office culture. The creations are called systems furniture. Visually they are a collage of tubes, tops, cables, and mechanisms. BaObab, the new desk offers cable management and some storage, but it is primarily a sculptural element, which embraces the user, protects her or him, supports the work in a fresh way, and provides the office with a happy accent. It is made of a one piece body and an additional writing surface. It is an exciting solution for new companies, shops, home offices and established corporations feeling the need for a rejuvenator.
Ravioli Chair, design ">Greg Lynn
It is a comfortable chair for everyday use with a shape that evolved in a largely automated design process. The aim of designer was to apply state-of-the-art technology to the conventional task of seating. Computer simulation was used to expand a square two-dimensional surface area into a volumetric mass whose final, solidified shape unites the functional requirements of a piece of seating furniture – mounting platform, seat bucket, armrests and backrest – in a monolithic form. The result is Ravioli Chair – a contemporary interpretation of the classic upholstered armchair.
It comprises two half-shells made of different materials: An upholstered seat shell covered with three-dimensional knitted spacer fabric is permanently affixed to the hard plastic shell of the base. Different versions of the chair are based on a series of textile covers in different colours and patterns, which were also designed by Greg Lynn using digital technology.
.07, design Maarten Van Severen
With the swivel chair, Vitra presents one of the last designs that Maarten Van Severen, was able to complete before his death. It is the most significant result of van Severen's intense engagement with leather, whose visual and tactile qualities as a natural material had long appealed to the designer.
Although .07 does not deny its kinship with the chair 04. – they share the same base and armrests – it has a highly individual character. This is immediately perceptible in the noble profile of the extended backrest. Thanks to its functional, tactile and visual qualities, .07 lends itself to numerous applications. Restrained and yet serious and dignified, it is an optimal seating solution for offices and conference spaces in the executive sector. It is also well suited for reception areas in offices, banks, hotels and medical facilities and for the home office.
Always by Maarten Van Severen design: Kast modular storage unit, the classic table type Wood table and the elegant A-table.
The Wooden Dolls, designed and made by Alexander Girard for his own house in Santa Fe, were also inspired by his collection of folk art.
Panton Chair Junior, design Verner Panton
This chair has always been a favourite of children. Kids like its bright, cheerful colours, the tactile smoothness of its curved shape, and the fact that you can not only climb on it, but also use it to make great caves and hiding places.
Verner Panton found it fascinating that children intuitively interpreted his chair not only as an object to sit on, but also as a plaything. Soon after mass production of the Panton Chair had begun, the designer considered the idea of producing a child-size version together with Vitra. Although Panton seriously pursued this plan, its realisation was prevented by exorbitant tooling costs. The market for children's furniture was still in its infancy, and the investment was considered too risky at the time. This lack of consumer demand explains why there are relatively few designs in Verner Panton's oeuvre conceived specifically for children, despite the designer's great personal interest. Even so, many of Panton's objects were very appealing to children due to their soft organic shapes, bright colours and playful character.
Based on Panton's original intentions, and in consultation with Marianne Panton, Vitra is now introducing a children's version of the Panton Chair for the Vitra Home Collection. Identical in shape and materials to the regular model, the Panton Chair Junior is about 25 percent smaller. This makes it an ideal chair for children in pre-school and primary grades. The chair will also cause a stir with a colour palette that has been especially developed with children in mind. In addition to the four classic colours orange, red, white and black, the chair is also available in three new colours: light pink, light blue and lime.
La Fonda Armchair, design Charles and Ray Eames
The designer Alexander Girard, who was a personal friend of Charles and Ray Eames, was commissioned in 1961 to create a restaurant interior in the new Time-Life Building in New York City – the now legendary "La Fonda del Sol". To furnish the dining area, he wanted chairs with certain characteristics: the bases should harmonise with the rest of the interior, and the height of the backrests should correspond to the height of the tables. The La Fonda Armchair, which was developed by the Eames Office on the basis of these criteria and entered mass production shortly after its New York debut, has a padded plastic shell that is mounted on a two-piece cast aluminium base. While the shell is clearly recognisable as a variation of the earlier plastic side chair, the base was newly developed for this specific project. It was also adapted for use as a table base in a slightly modified version. With its central leg support, which is split into four parallel shafts that merge into a four-star base, it is one of the most elegant and unconventional bases created by the Eames.
Plywood Elephant, design Charles and Ray Eames
June 17, 2007 marks the 100th birthday of Charles Eames. To honour this seminal designer, Vitra is announcing the first commercial offering of the Plywood Elephant. Both of the original prototype versions – in natural or red stained maple – will be produced in a limited series of 1000 pieces each.
During the early 1940s the Eames developed a successful technique for moulding plywood into three-dimensional shapes, which led to the creation of a variety of furnishings and sculptures. Charles and Ray Eames were fascinated by elephants. Many images of these gentle giants are found in Charles' photographic documentations of Indian culture and the circus world. The Plywood Elephant, in particular, has attained legendary status among collectors. This piece requires complex fabrication methods. Only two prototypes were produced, both of which were subsequently displayed in an exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Today only one known model remains in the possession of the Eames Family.
Vitra Anniversary Edition 2007 is in moulded plywood, maple, natural or red stained finish.
The Lounge Chair Wood, always designed by Charles and Ray Eames.
Organic Chair Highback, design Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen
Few objects in the history of furniture design have had as great an impact as this chair for the famous competition "Organic Design in Home Furnishings", which was organised by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Although wartime conditions prevented these models from entering production, they are direct predecessors of many chair designs which established the international reputations of Charles and Ray Eames (as well as Eero Saarinen) during the 1940s and '50s, and which also had a lasting influence on the development of design.
After introducing a re-edition of the Organic Armchair in 2004, Vitra now presents the Organic Chair Highback at the 2007 Milan Furniture Fair. With regard to their materials, construction and the choice of upholstery fabrics, both models are essentially the same – the difference lies in their shape and dimensions. This is most evident in the elongated backrest of the Organic Chair Highback, whose upper section was moulded into a neck support. The seat surface and armrests of the Highback are also more generously proportioned.
The famous Coconut Chair, design George Nelson.
Tabouret de bar, design Jean Prouvé
The bar stool that Jean Prouvé created in the early 40ies harks back to traditional forms of this seating genre: a round disc resting on top of four long, canted legs. A ring is mounted to the legs at about a third of their height, increasing the rigidity of the construction and also serving as a comfortable footrest.
This interpretation of this classic type is distinguished by its simple, unpretentious appearance, lucid construction and harmonious proportions. A remarkable characteristic in comparison to other bar stools is the pronounced splay of the legs, which enhances more than just the visual impression of stability. With regard to materials, the designer chose the proven combination of wood and metal.
Rayonnage mural, design Jean Prouvé
Small, wall-mounted bookcases, which often have a distinctive character that makes them more than just a practical storage element, have become rare in today's interiors. In the mid-twentieth century, however, a number of leading designers devoted their skills to this category of furniture. Jean Prouvé was one of them, creating several different designs for wall-mounted bookcases. Vitra's new edition is a model that was initially conceived for student housing at the École Nationale Professionnelle (E.N.P.) in Metz. The most marked feature of this bookshelf is the pair of vertical wall brackets. Made out of bent sheet metal, their streamlined cross-section evokes the shape of an aeroplane wing or a ship's rudder. Wooden shelves fit perfectly into the horizontal slits of the metal brackets, which are invisibly screwed to the wall. Two notches in the lead edge of the shelves securely fix them into position, allowing them to extend beyond the brackets on either side.
A practical storage element that can be used in many different places around the home, Prouvé's wall-mounted bookcase Rayonnage mural also has the sculptural qualities of an autonomous aesthetic object. In addition to its obvious function as a storage space for books and magazines, it can be used to display a wide range of items that people want to have in their immediate surroundings - things that make a house into a home.
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