Eckart Maise about the link between Vitra and G-Star

Chief Design Officer at Vitra

December 2015
In late-2014 Vitra presented the Prouvé RAW Office Edition. Following the success of the Prouvé RAW crossover project between Vitra and G-Star RAW in 2011, the partnership continued with the development, producing this second collection: a series of furniture pieces and lighting originally designed by Jean Prouvé in the 1940s for the offices of major French industrial companies. Prouvé’s constructive logic and strict utilisation of honest industrial materials not only corresponds to the product philosophy of G-Star but also exhibits a strong affinity with the architecture of the brand’s new headquarters, built in 2014 by architect Rem Koolhaas.
Thus, it was only sensible to furnish the offices of the new building with designs originally created by Jean Prouvé some 70 years ago. But how did the fashion brand happen to fit into the Vitra design process? Eckart Maise revealed some clues. “Vitra and G-Star share a passion for Prouvé’s designs. It is a collaboration based on content; the discussions are entirely about understanding Prouvé’s work and about how to give it a contemporary expression. The marketing and co-branding aspects were secondary, even though they were important during the project’s roll-out. The desks and chairs were designed decades ago, but they still meet the modern needs of office environments in terms of functionality. In addition, they are unique in terms of their aesthetics and cultural value. The Prouvé pieces bring the authenticity of industrial culture back into our digital offices once again, creating a strong contrast and an interesting balance at the same time.”
The collaboration offers some rare insights into the merging of two creative teams and a family heritage: “The creative team at G-Star Raw are huge fans of Jean Prouvé’s furniture, they have a detailed knowledge of his works. This seriousness is paired with an open-minded creative approach. As a third partner, Jean Prouvé’s family took part in the project. Together, we decided early-on to leave the construction and materials as close as possible to the original. We only made slight changes in order to meet today’s office norms. The main work was on the colours, finishes, and details.”
[caption id="attachment_11621" align="alignnone" width="1281"]Copyright: Misha de Ridder Copyright: Misha de Ridder[/caption]