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This is the third post on what we saw at the Vitra Campus.

The Vitra Design Museum is one of the publicly accessible building on the Campus. A major retrospective – “Alexander Girard – A Designer’s Universe” was installed when we visited. Much of what is written below came from their web site which is very informative.

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The Vitra Design Museum was founded in 1989 by the company Vitra.

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It is housed in a building by Frank Gehry (who else ?). Next to it is a gallery also by Gehry, where we saw an exhibition about the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong (see that post here).

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The work of the Vitra Design Museum is based on its collection, which encompasses not only key objects of design history, but also the estates of several important figures (including Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Verner Panton).

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It is dedicated to the research and presentation of design, past and present, and examines design’s relationship to architecture, art and everyday culture.

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Originally envisioned as a private collector’s museum, major internationally acclaimed exhibitions were presented later, including retrospectives on Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright and Luis Barragán.

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It developed its own product lines to finance its activities and an independent publishing house was established.

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Alexander Girard (1907-1993) is renowned for its fabric designs and collection of folk art.

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In 1951, he was appointed as the director of Herman Miller’s textile department.

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He recognized an impulse in folk art, based on a universal human heritage of patterns, motifs and design techniques that transcends the limits of  time and place.

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Girard donated over a 100,000 pieces of folk art to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A new wing was built at the museum—which Girard designed—to house the collection.

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Vitra is licensed to make a range of products bearing his graphic designs as well as a series of collectible wooden dolls.

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Check out the web site of the Girard Studio to see more of his works.

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