German Design 1949–1989

German Design 1949–1989

Two Countries, One History
20.03.2021 – 05.09.2021


Vitra Design Museum

An exhibition by the Vitra Design Museum, the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Wüstenrot Foundation.

German design was put on the map in the 1920s by the Bauhaus school and the Werkbund association. After the division of Germany in 1949, design and everyday culture, too, went their separate ways on both sides of the border. In the West, design became a driving force in the »Wirtschaftswunder«, or economic miracle, while in the East it was absorbed into the socialist planned economy. More than thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Vitra Design Museum presents the first panoramic overview of post-war design in the two Germanies. From 20 March to 5 September 2021, the exhibition »German Design 1949–1989: Two Countries, One History« will offer a comparative selection of design from East and West Germany and explore ideological and aesthetic differences as well as parallels and interrelations between East and West. Exhibits range from iconic pieces of furniture and lamps to graphic, industrial, and interior design to fashions, textiles, and personal ornaments. The exhibition is supported by the Federal Foreign Office.

The exhibition »German Design« will be presented at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden from 15 October 2021 to 20 February 2022.

More information

Key visual of the exhibtion: calculator »ET 33«, Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs, 1977, small jug from the hotel tableware »Rationell«, Margarete Jahny and Erich Müller, 1970, © Vitra Design Museum, illustration: Daniel Streat, Visual Fields

German Design 1949–1989

New presentation concept at the Vitra Schaudepot

New presentation concept at the Vitra Schaudepot

17.06.2021 – 08.05.2022

Vitra Schaudepot

The Vitra Schaudepot designed by Herzog & de Meuron presents approximately 430 key works from the collection of the Vitra Design Museum. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of its opening in 2016, a new presentation concept based on annual focus topics will allow more room for current debates and changing subjects. The first focus topic concentrating on female designers of the collection will be launched in June 2021, highlighting the female protagonists of modern furniture design while presenting new acquisitions from female designers and historical documents from the archives. A selection of objects by female designers will further enrich the presentation of key works in the Vitra Schaudepot.

Image: Exterior view Vitra Schaudepot 
© Vitra Design Museum, photo: Mark Niedermann

New presentation concept at the Vitra Schaudepot

The Bigger Picture: Women in Design 1920 – Today

The Bigger Picture: Women in Design 1920 – Today

25.09.2021 – 06.03.2022

Vitra Design Museum

Design as a discipline emerged in the wake of the industrial revolution. Until today, the history of design is mostly defined through iconic objects created by male heroic figures. While many previous exhibitions about women in design have focused on individual figures or on the situation of women at institutions like the Bauhaus, »The Bigger Picture« will look at women in design through a wider lens. The exhibition will deliver a critical survey of the achievements, the working conditions, and the social context in which female designers have practiced over the past century. The exhibition highlights the contribution of female protagonists in modern and contemporary design, as well as investigating structural questions such as the writing of design history or the role and value of collaborative practice. »The Bigger Picture« will include pieces by Charlotte Perriand, Lilly Reich, or Eileen Gray. The exhibition will also shed light on the important contribution of lesser-known practitioners, such as Nanda Vigo or Nanna Ditzel, and will present the work of contemporary designers like Marjan van Aubel, Bless or Julia Lohmann.

Image: 
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Kiss), Stool 60, 2019
Design Alvar Aalto © ICA, photo: Todd White Photography

The Bigger Picture: Women in Design 1920 – Today