with every object we place inside our home we tell a story – where we’ve been, the things we like and the people we care about. consciously placed in our sacred spaces, objects give us a sense of who we are. with this in mind, VITRA  — the swiss furniture company —  has created the VITRA accessories collection with ‘the idea that a vibrant living space is not achieved by conforming to a unified plan, but rather gains character through a mix of old and new, classic and contemporary, favourite mementos and found objects.’ based on classic patterns and objects, the series portrays authenticity, joy and playfulness to feature timeless creations from charles and ray eames, alexander girard and george nelson, to newer pieces by ronan and erwan bouroullec, hella jongerius, jasper morrison, and michel charlot among others.


VITRA accessories at their maison et objet showroom
image © VITRA

 

 

debuted during maison et objet spring 2018, VITRA presented the newest additions to the accessories portfolio, including jasper morrison’s ‘trays’ and ‘high tray’ – the perfect companions for his previously-launched ‘rotary tray’. although simple at first glance, they have been carefully developed in harmonized colors and sizes, in accordance to his ‘super normal’ design philosophy.

 

following these additions, at milan design week 2018, jasper morrison once more extended his collection for VITRA to include the ‘plate dining table’. the design, shaped with finely balance proportions, is detailed by a subtle interplay of planes and curves that presents an unassuming yet refined appearance. as such, the table is universally able to fit with any chair.

 

designboom met with jasper morrison, both on the occasion of maison et objet spring 2018 at VITRA‘s new showroom in paris, and during milan design week 2018 at the brand’s stand at salone del mobile. here, he discussed what it is like to collaborate with VITRA, the design process behind the trays, and the relevance of the ‘plate dining table’.


jasper morrison
image © jasper morrison ltd., photography: elena mahugo  

 

 

designboom (DB): having previously collaborated on numerous occasions with VITRA, what attracts you to continuously work together?

 

jasper morrison (JM): my relationship with VITRA started almost 30 years ago and at the time they were more an office company; their home section came much later. my partnership with them had a slow beginning, starting with a chair that they picked up from a plywood one that I had made. following that, I did a few projects which you could class as being slightly office contract. then, there came the moment when VITRA decided to launch their home collection. I had a very close relationship with rolf fehlbaum [their current chairman emeritus] and when they started with VITRA home, things started to move a lot better for me as I’m not really an office designer. I am much more interested in where our relationship has gone now, where there is almost a blur between home and office.

jasper morrison discusses new additions to vitra accessories collection designboom
VITRA ‘rotary tray’s, ‘trays’, and ‘high tray’ by jasper morrison
image © VITRA

 

 

DB: what is the process of firstly proposing and secondly designing new items for the brand, specifically the accessories collection you presented at M&O?

 

JM: the accessories collection is a very interesting niche of VITRA, which they haven’t been doing for so long. I think pieces by george nelson and alexander girard have been part of the portfolio for many years, so there was a kind of base for the division to grow. the first thing I did for them was the ‘rotary trays’ and now we are building on that family as they were quite successful. all in all, we are adding the three trays and the fixed centerpiece.

jasper morrison discusses new additions to vitra accessories collection designboom
‘high tray’
image © VITRA

 

 

DB: how do these designs express your philosophy of supernormal?

 

JM: I think they are… I mean, you wouldn’t call the shapes particularly special but hopefully they have a bit of an atmosphere. that is my belief really, it is about the object itself not being overpowering and individually or unusually shaped. I prefer to find forms that are more expected but then find a way to give them really good atmosphere.

jasper morrison discusses new additions to vitra accessories collection designboom
the multiple sizes and colors of ‘trays’
image © VITRA

 

 

DB: how did you choose the colors?

 

JM: well VITRA has a very sophisticated color division; on one side you have hella jongerius, and on the other side there’s a designer, and in the middle there’s a specific employee who coordinates everything, so it is a sort of teamwork. if there is a color I really hate, I would say let’s not go that way. I also made some proposals for the combinations so it is a mixture of them proposing to me and me proposing to them and then deciding together which is the best.

jasper morrison discusses new additions to vitra accessories collection designboom
image © VITRA

 

 

DB: with the launch of the ‘plate dining table’, how does this expand and bring a new element to VITRA’s collection?

 

JM: well, now the family is all wrapped up. whether I am designing a chair, dining table or an accessory, it is all part of a process where it is very nice to change between scales. to be doing a chair one moment, then a family of trays on the side, and finally a dining table, this variety really helps the designer get a feeling for the end user and the possibilities of living and surrounding yourself with the objects.


the ‘plate dining table’ 

 

 

DB: how does the tables range of sizes, colors and materials aid its flexibility and personalization?

 

JM: there is a marble option with a white frame, as well as the dark frame with the dark oak or the dark frame with the actual oak. there are lots of materials involved because it is a high end piece. a solid wooden top, for example, is so much better than a veneer, which, in the end, will start flaking or chipping off to reveal its secrets. when there is a solid wooden top, it is as the design has been made to last.


the ‘plate dining table’ at VITRA’s booth at salone del mobile 2018
image © VITRA, photography: eduardo perez 

 

 

DB: how does its design enable the flexibility to be complemented by a wide variety of chairs and accessories?

 

JM: a very important part of the project was to make a table for VITRA that works with any chair placed next to it. this is because their previous project was the prouve table, which is a very beautiful design but has a very strong design language. with certain chairs, it fits well but others not so well. I believe that in a room, the dining table should be quite neutral in comparison to other objects around it. if there is a table that is trying to show off with an amazing geometry, for example, then it would be a bit too much.


the dining table complements all furnishings in the environment
image © VITRA, photography: eduardo perez 

 

 

DB: like the rest of the collection, the table aligns to your ‘super normal’ philosophy. considering this, what details define the styling of the table?

 

JM: the big question is how do you make it relevant? with its design focused on complementing and being subtle, there is a risk of it disappearing and no one would buy it if they cannot see it. there is a fine line between wanting something that is pleasing enough but without over doing it. the table finds that edge between excess and relevance.


image © VITRA, photography: eduardo perez 

 

 

DB: you have previously mentioned hinted that the collection will be added to further by ceramic designs. can you tell us any more about this project?

 

JM: unfortunately not, it is still in the pipe-line. the designs are coming soon, possibly by the end of this year. for the dining table though, there are more materials being developed, such as a lower price level top and a glass one.

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