Herzog & de Meuron Adds Schaudepot Building to Vitra Design Museum
The Schaudepot, the latest addition to Vitra’s Weil am Rhein campus, provides an opportunity to view a permanent display of classic designs from the likes of Gerrit Rietveld, Alvar Aalto and Charles and Ray Eames. Basel-based architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron designed the monolithic brick-clad building to house a selection of the company’s collection of around 20,000 objects, which includes some 7,000 furniture items.
According to Vitra, the objective of the Schaudepot is to make its collection more accessible to the public by exhibiting a carefully curated snapshot of furniture design’s evolution. Around 400 examples of outstanding or rare products are on show in the cavernous ground-floor exhibition space, alongside lesser-known objects, prototypes, and experimental models.
The building’s 17,000-square-foot floor space is divided into three areas, with a lower-ground level containing thematic displays. There is also a restoration workshop that can be viewed during guided tours, and opportunities for visitors to observe curators at work in the archives. The cafe has windows looking onto the offices and library, which students and researchers can visit on request.
The Schaudepot’s simple gabled form makes it one of the less idiosyncratic structures on Vitra’s famous campus, which is also the site of buildings created by eminent architects including Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid. Its industrial aesthetic and brick exterior complements an adjacent factory designed by Álvaro Siza.
“The new structure combines the simple appearance of an industrial building or warehouse with the complex requirements of a walk-in museum repository,” said Vitra. “With its simple and dignified appearance, the Schaudepot reflects the cultural worth of the objects stored within.”
Designed as a no-nonsense windowless container, with fluorescent tube lights arranged in a grid across its pitched ceiling, the Schaudepot provides an optimal environment for furniture fans looking to explore Vitra’s vast collection.