"A Way of Life" is an invitation to discover and explore the world of objects with different eyes, inspired by the humble surroundings of Ballenberg. Ballenberg is an open-air museum in the Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps, which brings together farmhouses from across the country, spanning the 14th to 19th centuries. This book, edited by the entrepreneur and long-time driving force behind Vitra, Rolf Fehlbaum, is the result of a trip undertaken to Ballenberg by designers Jasper Morrison and architects David Saik, Tsuyoshi Tane and Federica Zanco.
The authors share a fascination with the simplicity, practicality and functional beauty of the material world in which rural populations lived. "A Way of Life" compiles their observations and discoveries, revealing how architecture, furnishings and tools were always committed in their design and execution to the needs and necessities of everyday life; genuine solutions were found with the available means. Contemplating this intrinsic relationship between design, form and function, the book serves as a gentle reminder to resist the fads of today’s consumer world.
The book is available now from Lars Müller Publishers.
Rolf Fehlbaum, born in Switzerland in 1941, studied social science and earned his PhD with a thesis on utopian socialism. Before becoming CEO and later chairman of Vitra, Fehlbaum was active in the production of art editions and documentary films and in architectural education. During his tenure at Vitra, he established relationships with many of the world’s leading designers and architects and developed projects with Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Álvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA, all of whom designed buildings for the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein. An avid collector of twentieth-century furniture, Fehlbaum founded the Vitra Design Museum in 1989, which is now considered one of the foremost institutions in its field.