The Vitra Design Museum numbers among the world’s leading museums of design. It is dedicated to the research and presentation of design, past and present, and examines design’s relationship to architecture, art and everyday culture. In the main museum building by Frank Gehry, the museum annually mounts two major temporary exhibitions. Smaller parallel shows are presented in the Vitra Design Museum Gallery, a neighbouring exhibition space. Often developed with renowned designers, many of the museum’s exhibitions cover highly relevant contemporary themes, such as future technologies, sustainability or questions like mobility and social awareness. Others address historical aspects or protagonists.
The work of the Vitra Design Museum is based on its collection, which encompasses not only key objects of design history, but also the estates of several important figures (including Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, Verner Panton and Alexander Girard). The museum library and document archive are available to researchers upon request. The museum conceives its exhibitions for touring, and they are shown at venues around the world. On the Vitra Campus, they are complemented by a diverse programme of events, guided tours and workshops.
The Vitra Design Museum would be unthinkable without its extensive collection of design objects. They form the basis of many exhibitions, publications and research projects. The focus of the collection lies on industrial furniture design and lighting – in these areas, the unique holdings of the museum are of international importance. They are supplemented by smaller groups of objects, including cutlery, consumer electronics and architectural models. The estates of prominent designers such as Charles & Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Anton Lorenz, George Nelson and Verner Panton are also maintained by the Vitra Design Museum. The expert preservation of the collection is ensured by the museum’s own conservation workshop. An extensive document archive and a library complement the collection, which is constantly expanding. The Vitra Design Museum regularly provides loans to other museums and galleries, including renowned partners as the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.