The Fire station by Zaha Hadid at the Vitra Campus where Virgil Abloh´s installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE can be seen until July 31. Photography © Elisabeth Heier

Press tour hosted by Vitra
Its been a week already since I visited the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein and also got the chance to be one of the first to see the result of the collaboration between Virgil Abloh and Vitra. I´ll show you more from the Vitra Campus (oh that place!) but first, Virgil. Virgil Abloh is known for pushing 
boundaries. The 38-year-old architect, DJ, engineer, university lecturer, artist, entrepreneur and artistic director at Louis Vuitton has captured an entire generation with his challenging methods of thinking and working. He uses his creativity to communicate socio-political messages and knows how to package them so attractively that it often takes a little while to fully grasp which terrain he has lured you onto.

Vitras collaboration with Virgil Abloh continues as a long series of experimental projects undertaken with designers, architects and artists – resulting in exhibitions, installations or special editions that reach an audience with a keen interest in both social issues and design topics. 

The Fire Station is a sculpture-like building that was cast in concrete on site. Positioned alongside the angular features of the neighbouring production facilities, it has the effect of a frozen explosion. Its lack of colour and right angles provides visitors with an unusual spatial experience. Photography © Elisabeth Heier 

Photography © Elisabeth Heier

Nora Fehlbaum, Vitra CEO´s motivation for the collaboration is Abloh´s open approach to art and furniture classics, and his ability to create new excitement and reach a younger audience. The result is the installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE who focuses on the interaction between an adolescent and his home surroundings. On one hand, it looks at how the evolution of technology and changes in society might affect our homes, touching on themes as sustainability, dematerialisation and overabundance – or as Abloh suggests; Its arguable if we even have a need for furniture in 2035. On the other hand, it addresses the degree to which our environment influences our life path, our tastes and the decisions we make over time. Drawing on this idea, Virgil Abloh has created a very personal residential biography of a fictitious teenager from the year 2019, accompanying him into the year 2035. The displayed objects – from the Petite Potence lamp and Antony armchair by Jean Prouvé to designs by Charles and Ray Eames or Eero Arnio, some in their original form, others creatively altered – might have come from the parents household furnishing, but could also have been collected from a playground, a classroom or a friends apartment.

As part of the futuristic exhibition TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE, three products were developed as limited edition Virgil Abloh c/o Vitra spin-offs. The Antony chair by Jean Prouvé (below) was designed in the early 1950s for the Cité Universitaire in Antony near Paris. With its dynamically curved wooden shell and characteristic metal base, this small armchair was one of the French designer’s last furniture creations. Virgil Abloh pays tribute to the iconic design with an updated version. He has transformed the armchair by giving it a plexiglass shell that reveals the supporting metal structure, which is further accentuated by a bright orange lacquer finish. The limited 300 pieces were all sold out during the first couple of days after the launch.

Photography © Elisabeth Heier

Antony armchair and Petite Potence lamp originally by Jean Prouve, here the Virgil Abloh specials together with the Ceramic Block. These glazed ceramic objects are not just a structural element but also take on a life of their own as storage objects in Virgil Abloh’s concept. The limited exhibition edition comprises 999 Ceramic Blocks, each with a noticeable numeral that makes it unique. ©Vitra, photography Joshua Osborne.

Virgil Abloh, architect, DJ, engineer, university lecturer, artist, entrepreneur and artistic director at Louis Vuitton. © Vitra, photography Joshua Osborne.

The installation TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE can be seen at the Vitra Campus until July 31. Photography © Elisabeth Heier


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