Vitra's Newest Space is a Furniture Fanatic's Fantasy

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By Heather Corcoran and Dwell
Aalto, and Rietveld, and Panton—oh my! With the Herzog & de Meuron–designed Schaudepot, the Vitra Design Museum showcases more furniture than ever before.

Since the opening of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, in 1989, the campus has been a pilgrimage site for design devotees. But with a collection numbering 7,000 objects it's been nearly impossible for the museum to show (all) its stuff.

Vitra's Newest Space is a Furniture Fanatic's Fantasy - Photo 1 of 5 - The Vitra Schaudepot, which opened in June 2016, is a showcase for a collection of modern furniture dating to 1800. The structure—which speaks to its neighbors, designed by Zaha Hadid and Álvaro Siaz for Vitra nearly 25 years ago—appears like a simple, windowless volume, but it serves as a second entry-point to Vitra Campus. © Vitra Design Museum, Julien Lanoo

The Vitra Schaudepot, which opened in June 2016, is a showcase for a collection of modern furniture dating to 1800. The structure—which speaks to its neighbors, designed by Zaha Hadid and Álvaro Siaz for Vitra nearly 25 years ago—appears like a simple, windowless volume, but it serves as a second entry-point to Vitra Campus. © Vitra Design Museum, Julien Lanoo

Now, with a new building designed by architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron—the same team behind London's Tate Modern, who are based just across the river in Basel, Switzerland—the Schaudepot adds more than 17,000 square feet of exhibition space on top of the site's original museum, which was designed by architect Frank Gehry.

Vitra's Newest Space is a Furniture Fanatic's Fantasy - Photo 2 of 5 - The 17,000-square-foot museum will showcase the company's permanent collection, along with special exhibitions. The space was also engineered to facilitate conservation of the objects. © Vitra Design Museum, Julien Lanoo

The 17,000-square-foot museum will showcase the company's permanent collection, along with special exhibitions. The space was also engineered to facilitate conservation of the objects. © Vitra Design Museum, Julien Lanoo

The bulk of the Schaudepot will be dedicated to a permanent exhibition of more than 400 pieces of modern furniture ranging from 1800 to today, including everything from the earliest examples of bentwood to today's 3D-printed designs. 

Vitra's Newest Space is a Furniture Fanatic's Fantasy - Photo 3 of 5 - The company's collection spans more than 7,000 pieces, including a selection of Pop art pieces, like Gufram's famous lip couch.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.8;">© Vitra Design Museum,&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.8;">Florian Boehm</span><span style="line-height: 1.8;">&nbsp;</span>

The company's collection spans more than 7,000 pieces, including a selection of Pop art pieces, like Gufram's famous lip couch. © Vitra Design Museum, Florian Boehm 

Though Gehry's museum building was meant as a home for the collection when it was built in 1989, the space has become a home for temporary exhibitions. The new structure solves that problem.

Vitra's Newest Space is a Furniture Fanatic's Fantasy - Photo 4 of 5 - The Schaudepot offers Vitra the chance to finally share highlights of its permanent collection—including pieces from this impressive selection of cantilevered chairs, which is currently hidden in storage.&nbsp;© Vitra Design Museum, Florian Boehm

The Schaudepot offers Vitra the chance to finally share highlights of its permanent collection—including pieces from this impressive selection of cantilevered chairs, which is currently hidden in storage. © Vitra Design Museum, Florian Boehm

The name of the newest space roughly translates from the German Schaudepot to "viewing warehouse," and it aims to be just that—by giving Vitra a chance to display its world-class collection.

Vitra's Newest Space is a Furniture Fanatic's Fantasy - Photo 5 of 5 - The Schaudepot will be one of the world's largest permanent exhibition and research facilities focused on modern furniture design.&nbsp;© Vitra Design Museum,&nbsp;Florian Boehm

The Schaudepot will be one of the world's largest permanent exhibition and research facilities focused on modern furniture design. © Vitra Design Museum, Florian Boehm

In addition to this canonical survey of modern design, the new Schaudepot will also feature special shows pegged to the collection. First up? "Radical Design," a look at the boundary-pushing innovations of the 1960s.

Vitra Schaudepot is located at Charles-Eames-Strasse 2, Weil am Rhein, Germany.