© Vitra Design Museum, Image: Ludger Paffrath

100 years of “Home Stories” in the Vitra Design Museum


The discovery of the loft apartment in the 1970s, the unrestrained desire to live in the 60s or the first open floor plans of the 1920s: the exhibition Home Stories. 100 Years, 20 Visionary Interiors in the Vitra Design Museum presents icons of living and lets the living culture of the past century Reminisce.

© Noritaka Minami, A504 I, Tokyo, Japan, 2012 / © Noritaka Minami

As Europeans, we spend almost 90 percent of our lives indoors.

But why do we actually live the way we live?

The Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein initiates a new debate about western living and takes us on a journey through 100 years of living culture. The focus is on the major cuts in the private interior, its history and future prospects. The exhibition shows 20 extraordinary interiors, which are represented by selected pieces of furniture, drawings, short films or models.

Our home is an expression of our lifestyle, it shapes our everyday life and determines our well-being. ❝

— Vitra Design Museum 1

In four exhibition rooms, the works of great icons of the interior demonstrate how art, architecture and fashion, but also the personality and sense of style of the designer influence the furnishing of a living space. The first room deals with the interior of the present and, under the title Space, Economy and Atmosphere, shows how our living environment reflects social, political and technical changes. In the second exhibition room, Rethinking the Interior, the bold aesthetics of 1960 and 1980 experienced a renaissance. Probably the most impressive exhibit is Karl Lagerfeld’s Pied-à-Terre in Monte Carlo. The home of the late fashion designer is still a symbol of Memphis – a movement that broke with the usual rules of functionalism. Instead, a joyful and imaginative interpretation of simple forms of everyday life took place, which guaranteed the pieces a special recognition value. The image of Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory represents the changed understanding of work and private life: the new idea of ​​the loft apartment impressively blurs the boundaries between living space, film studio, workshop and meeting point.

 Finn Juhl Haus, Ordrup, Dänemark, 1941 / © Image: Henrik Sorensen Photography, 2013

Unlike today, living issues were at the center of lively debates that continued to move between functionality and reduction on the one hand, and individuality and ornamentation on the other – a contrast that still characterizes our interiors to this day.

© Vitra Design Museum, Image: Ludger Paffrath

The third room of the exhibition focuses on interior design between 1940 and 1960 and examines how nature and technology were combined. The Casa de Vidro, designed by the Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1951, has a glass facade with a view of Sao Paulo’s landscape. The famous Cheiftain chair by designer Finn Juhl is also based on the characteristics of nature. The exhibition ends with The Birth of Modern Interiors – the pioneering approaches to modern living culture that emerged between 1920 and 1940. What does the exhibition bring to mind in the end? In times of digitalization and permanent tourism, the understanding of interior as a total work of art is increasingly losing value. Your own home has long ceased to be a life project, but should look more like the rooms of a boutique hotel in terms of appearance and functionality. Furniture becomes short-lived consumer goods, more goods than staging. It is precisely those design classics that also initiate a living space as a living space. The exhibition not only offers a moment of entertainment and inspiration, but also stimulates thought – about the present and future of home decor.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Villa Tugendhat / © Archiv Štenc Praha/ VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019

Note: Due to the current situation, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein is closed until further notice. You can get updates and information about the reopening of the exhibition here.


1 https://www.design-museum.de/de/ausstellungen/detailseiten/home-stories.html

Header image © Vitra Design Museum, Image: Ludger Paffrath

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