Sabine Marcelis Delves into Vitra Archive with Rainbow-Hued Installation

Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis has taken over the Vitra Schaudepot with an installation named “Colour Rush”, which sees the brand’s furniture and accessories organised according to hue and shade.

Marcelis is the latest to take on the annual challenge set by the Vitra Design Museum, which tasks designers with revealing the archives in new and interesting ways. For Marcelis, it was natural to focus on colour. Her work up until this point has become recognised for its use of bold shades, which she applies to blocky, simple-in-form furniture.

Some 400 pieces from the brand’s archives have been placed upon metal shelves, creating a kaleidoscopic sweep of colour as you walk around the space. As well as delivering something aesthetically impactful, Marcelis wanted visitors to understand the importance of colour to a designer and presents the backstories behind some of the pieces that are on show through archival documents – informing how and why they came to be. Sketches by the likes of Hella Jongerius, Alexander Girard and Verner Panton, who thought extensively about the concept of colour, reveal details of their thought processes and inspirations.

The exhibition mixes contemporary pieces with those that have become iconic over the decades – from Virgil Abloh’s orange ceramic block, which formed part of his 2019 collection, to the Wiggle Side Chair in brown corrugated cardboard, designed by architect Frank Gehry in 1972.

Of the installation, Vitra said:

“Our world is full of colour. Its various shades unleash emotions, assist orientation, indicate functions or perils, and mark cultural, political, professional, or religious identities. Although each of us perceives colours in their own way, all times and cultures have symbols and traditions distinguished by specific hues. This is one reason why colours play a central role in the design of interiors, fashions, and public spaces.

But the colours we choose for our clothes and homes also reveal personal predilections and contemporary trends. Some architects, artists, and designers even use their handling of colour as their hallmark – just think of Le Corbusier, Yves Klein, or Hella Jongerius. A homage to the role of colour in design across all periods and styles, the new annual presentation plunges the Vitra Schaudepot into a sea of colours, offering an almost physical experience.”

“Colour Rush” is on show at the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Vitra Schaudepot at the Vitra Design Museum until May 14, 2023.

Vitra Schaudeport
Charles-Eames-Straße 2
79576, Weil am Rhein
Germany

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