Archive & Estates

Archive & Estates


The estates of prominent designers such as Charles & Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Anton Lorenz, George Nelson and others are maintained in the archive of the Vitra Design Museum. The holdings also include company publications, brochures, posters, patent documents and drawings.

If you have questions regarding the archive, please contact
archive(at)design-museum.de

Vitra Design Museum archive, © photo: Vitra Design Museum, photographer: Andreas Sütterlin
Chairs by Harry Bertoia, Catalog frontispiece, Knoll Accociates Inc.,1966, © Vitra Design Museum Collection, Bertoia Estate (MAR-15281)

Charles & Ray Eames

Charles & Ray Eames

1907 – 1978 / 1912 – 1988

Furniture and other objects from the estate and some archival records (material studies, prototypes, furniture models, tools, serial products, photographs, printed matter). Period: 1940 – 1978, c. 1000 items. The Vitra Design Museum archives possess a variety of documents: vintage photos, magazines and journals, promotional materials, films from the 1940s on.

Charles and Ray Eames, LAR chair, unique specimen with Saul Steinberg drawing, 1950/51, © Eames Office LLC, photo: Vitra Design Museum, Eames Estate (DEA-1130), photographer: Jürgen Hans/objektfotograf.ch
Charles and Ray Eames leaving for Moscow with the film reels of ‘Glimpses of the U.S.A’ in hand, 1959, © Eames Office, LLC, photographer unknown

George Nelson

George Nelson

1908 – 1986

Records from the estate (library holdings, plans, drawings, photographs, slides). Period: 1924 – 1984, c. 7400 items. Nelson’s estate encompasses the areas of product design (especially furniture design), graphic design, industrial design, interior design and exhibition design; extensive coverage is given to his involvement with the “American National Exhibition” in Moscow in 1959. The George Nelson estate is the body of material most frequently consulted by outside at Vitra Design Museum.

George Nelson and Irving Harper, Marshmallow Sofa, 1956, © Vitra Design Museum (MUS-1011), photographer: Jürgen Hans/objektfotograf.ch
George Nelson, portrait, early 1960s, © Jaqueline Nelson, photographer unknown

Verner Panton

Verner Panton

1926 – 1998

Objects, records and textiles from the estate. Period: c.1949 – 1998, c. 600 items. Many projects from the fields of furniture design and furniture production and other areas (including many that were never realized) are documented with numerous large-format drawings.

Swimming Pool, Spiegel Publishing House, Hamburg, Germany, 1969, © photo: Panton Design Basel
Verner Panton, portrait, 1993, © photo: Verner Panton Design Basel, photographer: unknown

Anton Lorenz

Anton Lorenz

1891 – 1966

Pioneer and co-inventor of cantilevered tubular steel furniture records, including case files on the functional principle on the cantilevered. Period: 1927 – 1974, c. 45 linear meters of files, c. 370 items. Inventor of the “movement chair”, Lorenz lived and worked in Berlin, and then in the United States from the 1940s. Worldwide, this is the most significant estate on the history of tubular steel furniture, containing correspondence with Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Laszlo Mohoy-Nagy, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Anton Lorenz, KS 41g, 1929/30, © photo: Vitra Design Museum, Lorenz Estate (MST-1115), photographer: Jürgen Hans/objektfotograf.ch
Anton and Irene Lorenz, Boynton Beach, Florida, USA, early 1960s, © Vitra Design Museum, Lorenz Estate, photographer unknown

Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia

1915 – 1976

Correspondence, photographs. Period: 1943 – 1979, c. 600 items. The bulk of the holdings concerns Bertoia’s work as a sculptor and metal artist.

Harry Bertoia, Large Diamond Chair and Ottoman, 1952/53, © photo: Vitra Design Museum (MUS-1001), photographer: Jürgen Hans/objektfotograf.ch
Harry Bertoia in front of one his welded bronze fountains, early 1970s, © photo: Vitra Design Museum, Bertoia Estate, photographer unknown

Alexander Girard

Alexander Girard

1907 – 1993

Object and archive estate, period from ca. 1929 – 1985. The estate of the designer and architect Alexander Girard contains original documents, sketches and photographs as well as three-dimensional objects and an extensive collection of textiles.

Along with designs for industrial manufacturers, the estate is distinguished by a multitude of small, often handcrafted and highly personal objects produced for his own use and enjoyment. The documented materials include creations from the fields of furniture design, architecture, graphic design, textiles, tableware and decoration for corporate and private clients such as Herman Miller, Braniff Airlines, Detrola Corporation, Georg Jensen, James Irwin Miller and Billy Wilder along with materials from numerous design and folk art exhibitions organized by Girard, such as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Detroit Art Institute or the Hemisfair international exposition in 1968. As the long-time design director of the Herman Miller Textile Division, Girard worked side by side with Ray and Charles Eames and George Nelson whose archives likewise belong to the museum’s collection, allowing important connections to be made among these important holdings. The inventory of his extensive collections along with sketches, media reports and informational materials were carefully maintained and documented by Girard and his assistants, thereby constituting a unique source for further research on Girard. His expansive folk art collection, consisting of some 106,000 pieces, was donated by Alexander Girard back in 1978 to the International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe where it can still be viewed in a presentation designed by Girard himself. The appraisal of the three-dimensional estate is currently being carried out at the Vitra Design Museum.

Herman Miller Textiles & Objects Shop, New York, USA, advertising poster, 1961, © Vitra Design Museum, Alexander Girard Estate (MAR-16786)
Alexander Girard in his Studio in Grosse Pointe/Michigan, USA, 1952, © Vitra Design Museum, Alexander Girard Estate, photographer: Charles Eames