In conjunction with the ‘Making Africa’ exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum, a pop-up project designed by the architect Diébédo Francis Kéré will open on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein this summer as a joint venture between Vitra and Camper. The project will also enable the project partners to explore experimental ideas for new retail concepts. On 18 June of this year, Vitra and Camper are jointly launching a pop-up project for three months in the Dome on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein. The Burkina Faso-born, Berlin-trained architect Diébédo Francis Kéré was commissioned to design the space. He has attracted considerable international attention in recent years with numerous innovative building projects – one of which is featured in the ‘Making Africa’ exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum. The Vitra & Camper popup project gives visitors to the Vitra Campus a chance to experience a real-life example of Kéré’s work.
The pop-up project is a forum where stories can be told. First and foremost, the Ethical Fashion Initiative will be presented: a United Nations programme that promotes the work of artisans in countries such as Ethiopia and Haiti by facilitating collaboration with renowned designers and brands such as Camper. Models from this limited edition will be shown in the Dome on the Vitra Campus. Plus, the craft of shoemaking will be demonstrated including a professional shoemaker who will produce shoes live on-site. In addition, highlights from the current London Design Museum exhibition ‘Life on Foot’ will be displayed. The project will be completed by a selection of Camper’s Fall/Winter 2015-16 collection. For the partners Vitra and Camper, the temporary pop-up project also provides a platform for experimenting with new retail concepts, which aim to make shopping a true experience and strengthen the relationship between the brand and its customers. For example, visitors to the Dome will be able to access digital information about the specific models along with background details on their design. Another innovative service element is a scanner that takes precise measurements of a customer’s feet. The resulting data not only determines the optimal fit for a pair of shoes: visitors will be even able to order a customised insole based on their individual foot shape. The scanned data can also be used for subsequent online purchases from Camper.
For Vitra, the collaboration with Camper presents a welcome opportunity to demonstrate the competence of its retail segment to a wider public. Founded by Willi and Erika Fehlbaum as a shopfitting company, Vitra has its origins in this area and can draw on more than 80 years of experience. Camper has embraced the concept ‘Identity through diversity’ for the design of its own retail stores. The pop-up space in Weil am Rhein will also be based on this foundation. Vitra values the chance to take on the challenges associated with the implementation of this concept – all the more so as Vitra considers the development and realisation of individual solutions to be one of its core strengths.
The project on the Vitra Campus is the first joint venture between Camper and Vitra. The two companies have long been familiar with one another and, notwithstanding their different areas of business activity, have many things in common. Both have operated for generations as family-owned businesses. Both stand for innovative and high-quality products that are continually refined and perfected. Both have significant collections and archives in their respective fields and make use of the knowledge concentrated within these holdings for their own product development. Finally, both are design-driven and associated with some of the same designers – such as Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison or Hella Jongerius. It is quite possible that the cooperation explored in the pop-up project could mark the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the two partners.