I had the pleasure of attending the Vitra Summer Party 2015 at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany. This event coincided with Art Basel, unfortunately I was on a very tight schedule and didn’t have much time to explore the city and see more exhibitions, sniff, sniff!
The event was attended by regular visitors, artists, curators and critics. I was impressed by the Afro-Polis City interactive food installation art directed by Pierre-Christophe Gam in collaboration with the French chef Rudy Laine. This installation encouraged visitors to explore the art work and taste various types of desserts in form of cubic pastries.
Pierre-Christophe is also the man behind the visual identity/branding of the talented musician Taali M, who blessed all visitors with her energetic performance.
Of course I cannot overlook Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design exhibition!
The main exhibition in the Vitra Design Museum sheds new light on contemporary African design. Showcasing the work of over 120 artists and designers, the exhibition illustrates how design accompanies and fuels economic and political change on the continent. Africa is presented as a hub of experimentation, generating new approaches and solutions of worldwide relevance – and as a driving force for a new debate on the potential of design in the 21st century. “Making Africa” was curated through a dialogue with international experts such as curator Okwui Enwezor, and presents a plethora of work across a wide variety of media, such as objects by Cheick Diallo, eyewear sculptures by Cyrus Kabiru, the photography Mario Macilau and J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, buildings by Francis Kere, digital animations by Robin Rhode and the works of many other designers and artists from various disciplines. “Making Africa” is a collaboration between the Vitra Design Museum and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Art Mentor Foundation.
Since the 1980s, the Vitra company has erected buildings in collaboration with world-renowned architects. This unique architectural ensemble includes structures by Tadao Ando, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Frank Gehry, Nicholas Grimshaw, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Álvaro Siza and others. In reference to the Vitra Campus, the architectural critic Philip Johnson wrote: »Since the Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart in 1927, there has not been a gathering in a single place of a group of buildings designed by the most distinguished architects in the Western world.« The individual buildings contrast with one other, yet at the same time they blend in with their surroundings. They reflect a corporate philosophy that does not strive for a uniform image, but presents a variety of positions within the context of an open project. The VitraHaus – Vitra’s flagship store – provides a venue for the presentation of the entire Vitra Home Collection, ranging from the great classics to the newest pieces by current designers. The displayed furnishings and objects can be tested, ordered and purchased on site. The Vitra Campus comprises a public and a private area. In the public space, you will find the Vitra Design Museum, the VitraHaus and the Vitra Silde Tower on the Álvaro-Siza-Promenade. The private area, where the production facilities are located, can only be accessed as part of an architectural tour.
I spotted this stunning piece by Sainer Etam while in Basel. The painting was still in progress when I was passing by, and I had a chance to exchange few words with the artist, a real humble and down to earth guy!