Design Exhibition Furniture design Museums

Vitra Schaudepot marks five years with an exhibition that sheds light on female designers’ contribution

August 6, 2021

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the Vitra Schaudepot that houses more than 400 key works from the collection of the Vitra Design Museum, has embarked on a new presentation concept based on annual focus topics to encourage new debates in the contemporary context and changing displays. Its first focus topic, Spot On: Women Designers in the Collection, has seen Vitra Schaudepot transformed into a laboratory to explore the role of women in furniture design and questioning the museum’s own collection practice.

New acquisitions from designers including Inga Sempé, Reiko Tanabe, Matali Crasset, and Gunjan Gupta are juxtaposed with historical objects from the archives, for example, pieces illustrating the legendary collaboration between Ray and Charles Eames.

Ray Eames

The choice of Spot On: Women Designers in the Collection as the first annual focus topic reflects the fact that women’s work – both in design and in other areas – often receives too little attention from historians, collectors, curators, and the public at large. The exhibition builds on women’s trend-forming influence on ideas of relevance, iconic status, and personal success. The theme seeks to strengthen awareness of women designers’ works and to give them an equal voice in public discourse. Both individual designer personalities and design collectives, studios, and partnerships are examined in this showcase.

Mesa table by Zaha Hadid
Khushnu Hoof, curator

The focus topic documents ongoing social change and demonstrates a new perspective on the Vitra Design Museum’s own collection. Changing displays will spotlight new acquisitions, archival treasures, and other exciting finds from the collection. Background features centre on collection icons such as Zaha Hadid’s spectacular Mesa table or the tubular steel chair by Finnish designer Maija-Liisa Komulainen, which altered the course of design history. International guest curators including Khushnu Hoof will get to present their favourite objects alongside works by newcomers such as Lisa Ertel or Anne-Sophie Oberkrome. From September 2021, numerous pieces by women designers will be adopted into the Vitra Schaudepot’s permanent exhibition.

The focus topic at the Vitra Schaudepot forms the prelude to the Vitra Design Museum’s profound long-term reassessment of the role of women in design. The next phase in this project is marked by the exhibition, Here We Are! Women in Design 1900 – Today, (25 September 2021 – 6 March 2022) opening in autumn 2021 at the Vitra Design Museum’s main building. While the annual focus topic at the Vitra Schaudepot takes the museum’s own collection as its point of departure, the exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum will broaden the horizon to include other areas of design and the wider social context from the start of the 20th century.

The exhibition runs till 8 May 2022.

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