Going Old School: How Vitra Keeps Classic Design Alive
When thinking of Mid-Century Modern furniture design, one name stands above the rest: Vitra Furniture. The family owned Swiss brand has been a staple within the furniture world since 1950, bringing the world sustainable modern furniture from some of the most brilliant architectural furniture design collaborations.
Over the last 66 years, Vitra has collaborated with over 40 different designers and architects to create some of the most remarkable and inspiring furniture and accessories that look like they came straight out of a museum and into peoples’ homes. Some of the most iconic creations to come out of those collaborative efforts are the Paton Chair and the Eames La Chaise. Both pieces act as extensions of the body, further embracing the environmental-mindedness of the brand, and transforming the people on them into beautifully sculpted works of art.
The Panton Chair (originally known as Panton’s S Chair), the world’s first molded plastic chair, and its iconic signature S-curve, was the result of a collaboration between Danish designer Verner Panton, with his fluid design aesthetic and love of color, and Vitra Furniture’s innovative, modern production techniques. The Panton Chair is one of the brand’s best-selling items. Currently, the Panton Chair is available in three different models: the original Panton Classic, an updated 1999 Panton Chair, and a child’s size called the Panton Junior. These chairs have brought a pop of color to design-loving families for decades and will continue to do so for many years to come.
The Eames La Chaise, another Vitra best-seller, and its sculptural wonder has been elevating homes since 1991, though the chair was originally designed in 1948 for a competition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Charles and Bernice Alexandra “Ray” Eames drew their inspiration for this organically shaped, elegant lounge chair from the “Floating Figure,” the work of French-American sculptor Gaston Lachaise, after whom the chair is named. One of the most iconic examples of modern furniture design to date, the Eames La Chaise utilizes modern architecture for stability and organic sculptural elements to create the comfortable, floating position for which it’s known.
While organic, fluid lines are certainly a large part of the brand’s aesthetic, Vitra also embraces other ways of bringing a home or office to life by producing fun, colorful pieces like the Hella Jongerius Polder Sofa.
Inspired by the agriculture around her, more specifically the low-lying flatlands sectioned off for various agricultural purposes, or “polder” in Dutch, Hella Jongerius designed the Polder Sofa in 2005. With its vibrant colors and uniquely shaped cushions, the homage to the sprawling landscape in Holland brings life and color into any space. The mixture of fabrics and textures enhances every space and is another versatile offering from Vitra.
In addition to the Swiss furniture company’s noteworthy collaborations, they also have a strong brand value and other uniquely remarkable products. As a business hailing from one of the most historically environmentally friendly countries in the world, ranking 16th out of 180 countries according to Yale’s 2016 Environmental Performance Index, it’s no surprise that Vitra has an entire team devoted to promoting better environmental practices. Each product is designed to be easily replaceable and recyclable and tested for 15 years of use. Keeping with their love of furniture design history, the imaginative furniture maker also sells miniature versions of some of the most iconic furniture designs in history, like Eero Aarnio’s 1960’s Ball Chair (also called a globe chair), Marc Newson’s 1986 Lockheed Lounge, George Nelson’s visionary “pop art” 1956 Marshmallow Sofa, and Sori Yanagi’s beautifully elegant 1954 Butterfly Stool. These pieces were ahead of their time, and furniture lovers go gaga over Vitra’s miniature collectible recreations.
Each and every piece is a work of art, combining elements of sculpture, architecture, and furniture design to bring truly unique comfort into your home.