New Models of the Miniatures Collection

The Vitra Design Museum miniatures collection has acquired a cult following: In 1992 the museum began reproducing design classics at a scale of 1:6 in a labor-intensive manufacturing process that replicated even the smallest details of their original counterparts. Four new digitally manufactured miniatures will be presented to the public within the framework of Milan Design Week's Fuorisalone from April 17 to 22, 2018.

These four new miniatures of 21st century design icons-the originals of which are housed in museum collections across the world and traded at premium prices-were developed in close cooperation with their original designers. Vitra Design Museum's miniatures help make designs that were often produced in very limited editions available to a larger circle of collectors and enthusiasts, and serve a variety of purposes: accessories for design fans, collectables for design enthusiasts or study objects for scholars. Sketch Chair (2015) by the Swedish design group Front is one of Vitra Design Museum's new miniatures. The object questions traditional conceptions of design while retaining the intuitive character of the initial sketch, translated into a piece of seating furniture. A miniature of Joris Laarman's Bone Chair (2006), which is reminiscent of a human skeleton, will also be revealed. The chair was designed with the help of software that enabled efficient construction for optimal stability while using the least amount of material possible. One was recently sold for nearly 400,000 euros at auction. Sinterchair (2002) by German designer-duo Vogt & Weizenegger is the first piece of furniture that was produced on an industrial scale employing a 3D printing technology-the same technology used for the miniatures. Solid C2 (2004) by French designer Patrick Jouin is also made using a 3D printing technique, manufactured out of a single piece that is refined by hand.

Including these four new pieces, the Vitra Design Museum miniature collection now contains around 70 replicas, including 19th century design classics by the likes of Thonet or Charles Rennie Mackintosh, key modern pieces by the likes of Marcel Breuer or Charlotte Perriand and Radical Design objects such as the lip sofa Bocca. As miniatures these objects bear witness to a design culture that has long become part of our collective consciousness.

The licensing fees of the miniatures support the work of their original designers and estates. Despite of their success story, the miniatures have always remained a cultural project. All proceeds benefit the work of Vitra Design Museum: from exhibitions, research, communications to the preservation of the originals in the museum collection. The miniatures thus don't only document design history-they have become part of the history of design themselves.

Sketch Chair Sofia Lagerkvist und Anna Lindgren, Front Design © Vitra EN Design Museum, Foto: Nacho Alegre, 2018