7000 pieces of furniture, more than 1000 lighting objects and numerous archives, as well as the estates of such designers as Charles & Ray Eames, Verner Panton and Alexander Girard - the collection of the Vitra Design Museum ranks among the most important holdings of furniture design worldwide. On 3 June 2016, a new era will begin for this collection: in the Vitra Schaudepot by Herzog & de Meuron, key pieces from the collection will be on permanent public display.The collection has been overseen since 2010 by Susanne Graner. She studied art technology, conservation science and restoration at Munich Technical University, before going on to specialise in furniture and modern materials. In 2010 she left Die Neue Sammlung in Munich to assume responsibility for the collection at the Vitra Design Museum. With preparations for the Schaudepot now in the final stretch, she found time to talk with us.
For this and with the help of freelance colleagues and students enrolled in conservation programmes, we have handled almost 6000 pieces of furniture during the past three months – examining, cleaning and relocating them. Holdings that were previously stored elsewhere, due to space constraints, were also finally integrated back into the collection. All of these efforts have already proven worthwhile, since from the perspective of conservation, the conditions for the objects in the collection have been significantly improved.
The ‘Schaudepot Lab’ also brings a new conceptual approach to the presentation of the collection: it comprises an assemblage of materials and objects that exemplify various materials and technologies in furniture construction – many of which are common, but others that are highly innovative or unusual. We are not quite finished with this area, and several prototypes are still underway. The preparation of the objects for the presentation of the collection on the main floor is complete, and now we’re waiting with great anticipation for the moment when we can begin to move the pieces into their new location.