Vitra’s new Workspace showroom houses a comprehensive overview of Vitra’s furniture for offices and public spaces, and is a dynamic planning and learning tool for these environments. The space, located at the Vitra campus, Germany, occupies the second floor of a factory building designed by Frank Gehry in 1989, which is located between the Vitra Design Museum, a factory, the VitraHaus and the Citizen Office. In location and in concept the Workspace is a nexus that connects intellectual ideas about design with practical office solutions, and the informality of the home and public sphere with the demands of the office.
The newly renovated space opens up what was once a heavily partitioned floor into an expansive area, where product categories are framed within specific vistas and platforms. Each product category – new releases, office systems, Meet & Retreat, office seating, standards, and Belux lighting – is explored in a specific installation that encourages consideration within the contemporary context. While many of these areas can be used by guests and staff as informal work areas, the Workspace also features a dedicated workshop, a material library, a reference library, and a café which can host and support meetings. In addition to content pertaining to specific products, the Workspace is also home to four installations – The Future of the Office?, An Office Perspective, the Factory Voice, and the Rotating View – which galvanize Vitra’s key values, ground the space in office history, establish a connection with quality manufacturing, and reveal Vitra’s products in specific architectural contexts.
To develop the Vitra Workspace, Vitra collaborated with the London based architecture studio of Pernilla Ohrstedt and the Los Angeles office of designer Jonathan Olivares. Ohrstedt is well known for interactive spaces and installations, and an unusual approach to materials. Olivares works span industrial, space and communication design, and often exist at the intersection of these disciplines. Together the designers defined the spatial choreography for the Vitra Workspace, sales areas, work areas, and supporting installations. A layer of information was created for each area with the Los Angeles based graphic designer Harsh Patel.
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