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Designed by the well known diconstructivist architect Frank Gehry, the Vitra Design Museum is

an internationally and privately owned museum for design in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Vitra CEO
Rolf Fehlbaum founded the museum in 1989.

It is Frank Gehrys first building in Europe in cooperation with the Lrrach architect Gnter
Pfeifer. Gehry also built a more functional-looking production hall and a gatehouse for the Vitra
factory though, it is originally just designed to house Rolf Fehlbaums private collection.

Photography by: Liao Yusheng

The museum was established as an independent foundation dedicated to the research and
popularization of design and architecture. Despite its modest scale, the museum building emerged
as a programmatic work of deconstructivism.
Photography by: Liao Yusheng

Being influenced by the usual style of Frank Gehry, the deconstructive sculptural building differs
only slightly than his usual designs. He limited his materials to white plaster and a titanium-zinc
alloy. For the first time, he allowed curved forms to break up his more usual angular shapes. The
sloping white forms appear to echo the Notre Dame du Haut Chapel by Le
Corbusier in Ronchamp, France, not far from Weil. The architect himself said, I love the shaping
I can do when Im sketching and it never occurred to me that I would do it in a building. The first
thing I built of anything like that is Vitra in Germany.
Photography by: Liao Yusheng

At only 8,000 square feet, the two-story Vitra Museum is one of the worlds largest collections of
furniture, with pieces from most periods and styles beginning with the nineteenth century and
continuing into the modern era. A functional mix of towers, ramps and cubes, the volumes of the
building are determined by lighting and programmatic necessities. At the rear end of the building,
the factory hall relates to the adjacent building by Nicholas Grimshaw in both size and height. A
formal link between the museum is found in the towers and ramps, which bridge together the
production areas, showroom, test laboratory, cafeteria, a multi-purpose room and offices.
Photography by: Liao Yusheng

Paul Heyer, an architecture critic, described the visitors experience as, a continuous changing
swirl of white forms on the exterior, each seemingly without apparent relationship to the other,
with its interiors a dynamically powerful interplay, in turn directly expressive of the exterior
convolutions. As a totality it resolves itself into an entwined coherent display. Surrounded by
a meadow of cherry trees, the museum is also nearby to Claes Oldenburgs sculpture Balancing
Tools, as well as a conference pavilion by Tadao Ando.
Photography by: Liao Yusheng

Another architecture critic Philip Johnson once wrote, not since the Weissenhofsiedlung in
Stuttgart in 1927 has there been a gathering in a single place of a group of buildings designed by
the most distinguished architects in the western world.