Vitra Schaudepot Lab

Vitra Schaudepot Lab


The variety of material in furniture design is almost endless – ranging from a chair made out of papier-mâché to space-tested materials such as carbon fibre or aramid. Wood, metal and plastic are among the most important groups of materials used in a variety of different forms and combinations. The Vitra Schaudepot Lab on the lower ground floor of the Vitra Schaudepot gives an insight into this diversity and the development processes that range from the initial design concept to a finished product. This development often begins in the designer's studio and is based on drawings, models and experiments. However, the respective production methods – whether they be in an industrial or craft context – characterise the form and details of an object. In the extensive Materials Library, visitors can learn about and tangibly experience many different kinds of materials.

Special presentation »New Material Award 2018«

Special presentation »New Material Award 2018«


From 10 May to 13 October 2019, the works of the »New Material Award 2018« finalists are presented at the Vitra Schaudepot Lab.

Since the first edition of the »New Material Award« in 2009, this biennial prize has been rewarding designers and artists for their contributions to material innovation in the service of ecological and social sustainability. Over the past decade, the prize has proved an important catalyst for innovative design research. Moreover, the »New Material Award« offers a platform to a generation of designers who dare to ask fundamental questions about industrial production processes and natural growth, waste flows and residual materials, increasingly often in collaboration with scientists.

These can be confrontational questions in which the ethics of industrial society and the politics behind environmental policy come under discussion. In the nominated projects, critical research leads to stimulating counter-proposals. With their speculative projects, the designers visualise an alternative, optimistic view of natural resources and the materials of the future.

Material innovation encompasses much more than just the development of completely new materials. Generally, it revolves around a revaluation of raw materials, techniques, or residual products that are currently overlooked by industry as unsuitable for the intended purposes. It is always possible to stretch the valuation – by exploring new possibilities through research, and most importantly without prejudice. From a loaded substance like animal blood, to the bamboo that has been used for centuries; and from the hair that we leave behind at the hairdresser, to the waste glass that, according to established industries, would be impossible to reuse.

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Daria Biryukova, Forz(R)Glaze, 2018, photo: Jeroen van der Wielen
Shahar Livne, Lithoplast, 2018, photo: Alan Boom