Presented in parallel to the opening of Art Basel, Swiss design brand Vitra has debuted a collaborative exhibition with Virgil Abloh, which opened at Zaha Hadid’s Fire Station on the Vitra Campus this week. Entitled “TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE”—a year just out of our reach—the show features three of the brand’s products reimagined in Abloh’s unique, contemporary style. The pieces are displayed in scenarios that bring to mind ideas of sustainability and the evolution of technology, as well as the ways in which our environment can influence our future selves.
“To me, design has the inherent idea of being a bridge from the past, with an eye towards the future,” said Abloh, who was chosen for the collaboration for his his unconventional creative methods and connection to a younger generation.
Abloh has created a fictitious youth from the year 2019, whom he follows into 2035 by means of a personal biography in two parts. In “Past/Present” is an assemblage of objects and memories that will potentially influence the youth’s life in later years. The objects on display (including Jean Prouvé’s Petite Potence lamp and Antony armchair) are playful in nature, as though they might have been collected from a classroom, playground, or friend’s apartment.
Fast forwarding into the future is “Tomorrow,” which takes place in 2035 at what is the now-adult’s home and studio. A substantially more sophisticated collection of objects tells the story of a creative doer who transforms their experiences into personalized products. It is here that we see Abloh’s reimaginations of the Petite Potence lamp, Antony armchair, and Ceramic Blocks. “Tomorrow” offers viewers a chance to reflect on the character’s tastes and habits in the “Past/Present.”
All created in limited editions, Abloh’s takes on the Vitra lamp, chair, and block will be available to purchase online or at the Vitra Campus for the duration of the exhibition. “TWENTYTHIRTYFIVE” will remain on view through the end of July, shortly before it is due to reopen at the brand’s showroom in New York.