Vitra unveils new London home the Tramshed | Design emporium

Following a year-long renovation, Vitra has opened the doors to its new showroom set within the historical Tramshed building in Shoreditch. 

The opening coincides with the events of London Design Festival 2022, and is a highlight of Shoreditch Design Triangle, inviting visitors in to discover the modern showroom within the refurbished building which was once a power station for the Eastern London Tramway. The interior forges a connection between the old and new, providing an industrial-style backdrop to Vitra’s furniture classics and contemporary design pieces. 

The building was originally designed in 1905 by English architect Emmanuel Vincent Harris, and has now been respectfully restored by the team at Vitra with Till Weber, the company’s Creative Director of Interiors and Scenography at Vitra, taking the lead. 

“The design sought to conserve as much as possible, celebrating the traces of time instead of hiding them or losing them all together,” Weber explained. “This ethos has manifested in the natural nuances of the aged cement floor, the old, glazed brick walls and the prominence of the original black metal beam structure in the new showroom space.” 

The palette reflects the past, but it is also infused with contemporary pops of colour and features artworks by Erwan Bouroullec

“The colour scheme reflects the influences of the past while setting its own accents. The terrazzo of the bar countertop with its cream-coloured stone fragments contains speckles of dark green and red stone which connect to the palette of historic materials. We chose shades of mint-green and pink-red, which echo the ceiling and glazed bricks,” he added.

For its opening act, the Vitra showroom has displayed an installation celebrating its ongoing collaboration with the family of iconic French designer Jean Prouvé. Amongst a collection of furniture and lighting, the installation is debuting new additions to Vitra’s Jean Prouvé collection (pictured below), including a limited edition of the Fauteuil Kangourou armchair which was first designed in 1948. 

The Gallery space is in the basement and showcases a display of Jean Prouvé’s designs reissued by Vitra

Vitra London showroom: a designated design emporium 

Inside, the Tramshed has been thoughtfully divided so that its main hall, with high ceilings and natural lighting, encompasses structured side rooms and a large gallery space on the ground floor. 

Spanning 920-square-metres, the showspace is designed to draw visitors through the three main areas. The grand hall (or The Club, as it has been named), mimics a modern office with adaptable spatial conditions. A shimmering silver curtain offers a soft divider between seating areas, and provides a private breakaway space. 

In The Club space, comfort is added in the shape of the Soft Work sofa by Barber Osgerby

Upstairs, there’s a mezzanine area which showcases the Vitra approach to home interiors, with a calming aesthetic of plants, soft furnishings, and artworks. In contrast, the basement, also known as The Gallery, is an industrial white box space to be used as a blank canvas for exhibitions (currently the presentation of Jean Prouvé classics). 

The Loft is an event and hospitality space in the pipeline, and we can expect this to open in 2023 – so, watch this space! 

The mezzanine is designed as a calming retreat, featuring chairs and shelves by Jean Prouvé

Photography by Taran Wilkhu.

Discover more about the Tramshed, the new London home of Vitra.

Take a look at other London Design Festival 2022 highlights including Unearthed, the talks programme at Planted Cities, the Shoreditch Design Triangle creatives, and see what was on during Design London in Greenwich.

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