Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance

Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance

06.02.2021 – 23.01.2022

Vitra Design Museum Gallery

The Memphis group was one of the most unusual phenomena to appear in the world of design in recent decades. It emerged in the winter of 1980/81, when a group of young designers eager to break away from the dogmas of functionalism and industrial design formed around the Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass. The group’s first collection, presented at Milan’s Arc’74 gallery in September 1981, was an international sensation. Characterized by garish colours and wild patterns, the Memphis designs seemed to have walked straight off the pages of a comic book and gave rise to a completely new look in which popular culture, advertising aesthetics, and post-modernism merged in a crazy medley. The exhibition »Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance« at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the group’s foundation through its creations, presenting furniture, lamps, bowls, drawings, sketches, and photographs that give insight into the world of Memphis. Exhibits include works by such well-known members as Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, Martine Bedin, Michael Graves, Barbara Radice, Peter Shire, Nathalie Du Pasquier, and Shiro Kuramata.

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Image: 
The Memphis team posing on bed »Masanori« by Umeda Tawaraya, 1981
© Masanori Umeda
© Studio Azzurro, with kind permission of Memphis, Milano, www.memphis-milano.com

Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance

Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe

Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe

29.02.2020 – 18.04.2021

Vitra Schaudepot

Gae Aulenti is one of the most influential architects and designers of the post-war period. As early as the 1960s, her iconic creations – such as her »Locus Solus« series (1964), the »Pipistrello« (1965) and »King Sun« (1967) lamps – played a vital role in Italy’s global dominance within the field of product design. The Italian designer gained international renown for her transformation of a Parisian train station into the Musée d’Orsay (1980–1986). But although Aulenti realized over 700 projects, she is relatively unknown outside her native Italy. The Vitra Design Museum seeks to counteract this undeserved neglect with »Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe«. The exhibition explores Aulenti’s multifaceted body of work, one that encompasses not only architectural projects and design objects, but also interiors, set and costume design, as well as exhibitions. The Vitra Schaudepot will present roughly 35 items from across her career, complemented by photographs, sketches, and drawings, as well as a slideshow, documentary films, and interviews. 

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Image:
Gae Aulenti, Pipistrello, 1965 © Vitra Design Museum, photo: Andreas Sütterlin

Gae Aulenti: A Creative Universe

The Vitra Design Museum Collection

The Vitra Design Museum Collection

Permanent exhibition

Vitra Schaudepot

At the Vitra Schaudepot, which is designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Vitra Design Museum presents key objects from its extensive collection, creating one of the largest permanent exhibitions and research sites on contemporary furniture design. Today the collection of the Vitra Design Museum encompasses a total of around 20 000 objects, with some 7000 pieces of furniture, more than 1000 lighting objects and numerous archives, as well as the Collection of the Eames Office, or the estates of Verner Panton and Alexander Girard. Although the main museum building by Frank Gehry (1989) was originally conceived to house the collection, the museum utilises the space to stage major temporary exhibitions. The construction of the Schaudepot allows for a permanent presentation of the collection, while offering a diverse educational programme.

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The Vitra Design Museum Collection