Vitra Furniture Factory   Weil-am-Rhein, Germany

Following a disastrous fire and the loss of all its facilities, Vitra commissioned Grimshaw to design a new 15,000 square metre factory and showroom for its celebrated contemporary furniture designs.

With just six months to deliver the project and resume production, a rapid solution was essential. The fast-track construction relied on readily available 25-metre-span pre-cast concrete frames, and service towers that were erected independently of the main structure. Corrugating cladding of 150mm pitch encloses the building with 50mm profile cladding to the service towers.

Lining panels and insulation followed the structural logic, so that the fit-out could proceed in parallel to the cladding. The floor plan allows for a flexible internal arrangement, equally suitable for robust manufacturing spaces, offices and the showroom. Undulating standard ceiling panels in the latter two distinguish an otherwise uniform interior treatment.

The first commission for what is now the acclaimed Vitra Campus, Grimshaw’s factory building has become a famous and much imitated work of industrial design.

The building’s linear silver skin and its rounded corners allow for easy maintenance and blend in with the surroundings.

Location
Weil-am-Rhein, Germany

Project Type
Industry →

Client
Vitra AG

Area
15,000 sq m

Status
Complete

Year
1981

Photography
Jo Reid & John Peck