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 of Italian designers and architects was one of the most unusual phenomena in the design of the past decades. Despite its short-lived existence from 1981 to 1987, its history and impact are legendary. With their bright colours and fantastic patterns, Memphis designs seemed to have walked off the pages of a comic book and gave rise to a completely new look in which popular culture, an advertising aesthetic, and post-modernism merged in a crazy medley. Forty years after the group was founded, the exhibition »Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance« at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery presents objects, drawings, and material from the archives giving insight into the Memphis world. The group’s main protagonists will also be introduced, from its mentor Ettore Sottsass to Michele de Lucchi, Martine Bedin, Michael Graves, Barbara Radice, Peter Shire, and Shiro Kuramata.

Image: 
George Sowden, Drawing for Interior 2, 1983 © Vitra Design Museum

Memphis: 40 Years of Kitsch and Elegance

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.

Driven by the Bauhaus and Werkbund movements, German Design gained wide recognition in the early twentieth century. After 1949, its development followed a unique path as designers in the divided nation continued working under opposed political systems in East and West Germany. More than thirty years after the German reunification, the Vitra Design Museum presents the exhibition »German Design 1949–1989: Two Countries, One History« from 20 March until 5 September 2021. It is the first overview that explores German design on both sides of the Iron Curtain. While giving insights into the different design philosophies in the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, it also reveals the many parallels and interrelations linking design in East and West during the nation’s divide. 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.  

Image: Peter Ghyczy, Gartenei / Senftenberger Ei, 1968
© Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Jürgen HANS

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