The history of success of the tradition company Vitra started by chance: The family company was founded by Willi and Erika Fehlbaum in 1950, but the couple only got to know furniture by Charles and Ray Eames in 1953 during a trip to the USA, and as soon as that they fell in love with those design pieces. The Fehlbaum’s were astonished by the creations of the American designers, so that they got the license to produce them, bringing Eames furniture to Europe in 1957 for the first time.
Along the license negotiations, Willi and Erika Fehlbaum also bought the right to produce furniture by other designers, considered classic today: Alexander Girard, Isamu Noguchi and George Nelson also became famous in Europe because of Vitra. Also European designers would soon get curious about the Swiss company in the beginning of the 1960s, since Vitra started to cooperate with Verner Panton then, working together until Panton’s death in 1998. Legends, such as the revolutionary Panton Chair were born out of the cooperation – Vitra as well as the designers recognized the advantages of further cooperation.
After Panton, further great names of the design scene followed, working together with Vitra: Jasper Morrison, Maarten van Severen and Antonio Citterio are only a few of those, creating classics in cooperation with Vitra. This success was only possible by means of the consequent connection of design, quality and function: designers, engineers and architects work together ever since in the Vitra workshops, fulfilling the highest demands of furniture production. The products should act aesthetically appealing as well as sophisticated along many years. This current concept of sustainability is focussed by Vitra since the company’s foundation.
After the fire in the ürpduction factory in Weil am Rhein, Vitra started a new project in 1981: The Vitra Campus should emerge in the following years and the work of the company would be expanded with more than only furniture production. On the Campus there are meanwhile design museums, a collection of modern furniture, rooms for workshops and interesting constructions of namely architects, such as Frank Gehry, Nicholas Grimshaw, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and Herzog & de Meuron. According to the expansion, the Swiss manufacturer slowly enlarged the product portfolio: Vitra owns the international rights of many design classics since 1984 and is allowed to sell them all over the world. Accessories, sculptures, objects for children and complete furnishing solutions are designed and produced by Vitra today.
Still today, many known names come together in the family company of Switzerland: Alberto Meda, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Jasper Morrison and many more famous designers prove that Vitra is still a highly recognized company. A company representing traditional values.