Emulating curtain-like folds, the undulating facade at Vitra Campus, Weil am Rhein, Germany, is round, but not quite circular. Designed by SANAA in 2012, the logistics center is still producing and shipping furniture—albeit with a skeleton crew. While the staff kitchen remains closed and most operations have halted, Vitra safely presented its 2020 collections online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In place of a pavilion at the now-canceled Salone del Mobile, Vitra’s CEO Nora Fehlbaum guided a virtual tour behind factory walls, presenting new and old products in two videos—one for the company’s Instagram and the other, longer cut version for private business partners.While most of Italy was in lockdown, the family-run Swiss manufacturer had just put the finishing touches on the Milan booth design.
With four vignettes, each was designated to designers from four practices: Charlap Hyman & Herrero, F Taylor Colantonio, Gonzalez Haase AAS, and Studio Daskal Laperre. The pavilion structures that would have otherwise been shipped to Milan—which, had been reused in two previous Milan fairs—were remotely designed knowing that they would not actually be seen in person (even the designers themselves were not able to see their creations with their own eyes).