The Swiss design company Vitra has opened their UK flagship showroom in the Grade II listed Tramshed building in Shoreditch London
The Vitra team – led by Till Weber, the company’s creative director– were sympathetic to the original features of the historic building – originally built as a power station for the East London Tramway by Emmanuel Vincent Harris in 1905.
Weber explained that the carefully considered colour scheme featuring mint-green and pink-red shades echo the original glazed bricks, while black details link back to the black steel elements of the historic building –colours and details creating a perfect space and backdrop to exhibit their collection.
When asked about his thoughts on the project Weber said, “One of our main goals was to peel off added elements to reveal the beauty of the spacious interior. We also tried to maintain as much as possible of the original structure. For example, we tore out an entire kitchen installed by the former tenant to reveal wonderfully preserved brick walls.”
He continues, “After several visits to the site and a series of workshops with the UK team to understand their needs and define a visitor’s journey, we produced an interior concept – creating a novel interplay between the historic building’s existing colours and materials and new elements and furniture by Vitra and Artek.”
Vitra’s furniture classics by designers Charles and Ray Eames, Danish designer Verner Panton, French designer Jean Prouvé and Finish brand Artek as well as for contemporary works by French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and British designer Jasper Morrison sit beautifully within the dramatic double height grand hall of the ground floor that Vitra refer to as ‘The Club’.
Vitra believe that design and our environments have the power to shape our lives, at home and at work, to influence our lifestyles as well as shape our thoughts and feelings. The 920 sq m exhibition space is no different with Vitra’s design ethos felt the moment you walk into the building. Plants, artwork by Erwan Bouroullec and accessories by Arik Levy –such as ‘The Toolbox’ – and Artek vases placed throughout help to soften the space.
Vitra have designed ‘The Club’ showcasing different working areas with an emphasis on adaptability to the user’s needs –elements which were first implemented, tested and now used by their own team at the Vitra headquarters in Switzerland.
The long striking terrazzo bar runs along one side of hall creating a community feel, easily adapting the space from morning coffees to evening events. While office furniture catering to a range of working styles runs along the opposite wall – chairs by Jean Prouvé with shelving by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec are open and face inwards – Vitra’s Chief Design Officer Christian Grosen explains this is so the user can do more focus work while still feeling included in the buzz of the space.
Another design by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec –the Alcove Plus sofa which Grosen refers to as ‘Micro Architecture’, furniture that is flexible and can stand on its own without the need for permanent partitions – the panels creating privacy and a working area perfect for focus work or collaboration.
Different meeting zones have been created throughout the space from the ‘Soft Work’ sofa – by British creative duo Barber and Osgerby – enclosed behind an oval curtain that helps to break up the centre of the hall and provide for a more informal place to meet and work, contrasting against the more traditional meeting tables with Eames chairs.
Vitra have created a calmer ‘retreat’ like feeling on the mezzanine to showcase their version of the home with lounge, work and dining areas on display showcasing chairs from Jean Prouvé and accessories by Artek.
The building’s lower floor was transformed into ‘The Gallery’ to be used for exhibitions with the Jean Prouvé collection currently on display showcasing the designer’s classics alongside newly launched colours. ‘The Loft’ is the third space –to be used for events and meetings – located on the first floor of the building and set to open in 2023.
Find out more about Vitra and their Tramshed showroom.
Images courtesy of Vitra by Taran Wilkhu
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