Just over a month ago, Vitra, purveyor of some of the finest furniture around, had a uniquely uninspiring website. To those with an interest in product design, well aware of the Vitra name (and what they sell) its online presence – at a hefty ten years old – was beginning to show its age. No longer…
London-based studio de-construct was charged with building on the existing brand and, as production director Kevin Holloway explains, “creating a digital destination for Vitra that could become a component of the Vitra Projekt”, the wider Vitra catch-all term for its range of other initiatives, such as the Design Museum in Weil am Rhein in Germany.
Online, de-construct was keen to make more one of the company’s biggest unsung strengths: a history that goes back to a family business that started out in 1950. Moreover, the studio hoped to bring the personality of Vitra into the digital realm – something that the previous site certainly hadn’t done.
For example, the new website also sees the establishment of online magazine, Collage. Building on Vitra-led editorial, this webzine section will develop into a larger platform to which visitors can contribute.
Using the site it becomes apparent that, unusually for a furniture website, products aren’t immediately categorised by room or function – rather, users can first browse the pieces within the wider sections Home, Office and Public Spaces. An Eames chair for your studio, or your dining room? Well, the lavish photography, commissioned with long-term collaborator Cornel Windlin, certainly makes it a little easier to imagine the crossover of many of the products.
Visually, it’s all pretty mouthwatering stuff – even the biographies of Vitra’s designers are carefully put together and don’t feel like a mere afterthought. Most notably though, it’s by virtue of the site’s generous layouts and intuitive navigation system that some of the twentieth century’s most appealing items of furniture have finally found their online home.