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A cabinet of robotic curiosities at the Vitra Campus

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - October 1, 2018

Vitra-black-box-robot-Elephant-Yoshiya-Japan-1960-21-cm--Rolf-Fehlbaum-Foto-Moritz-Herzog

A new space has been set up at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein. It’s a Black Box aimed to showcase the collection of toy robots donated by the chairman emeritus of Vitra, Rolf Fehlbaum.

The gallery features robots and figures of astronauts manufactured from 1937 to 1968. Many of the pieces on view express the technological optimism of a period in which robotics and space travels were still largely fiction. Some of the selected objects are shown together with their original packaging, which is often as spectacular as the artifacts themselves.
A number of robots can be seen in motion on video screens, while others are exhibited on turntable displays. The staging of the objects draws the viewer into a dark, minimalist dream world. The exhibition was conceived in collaboration with Fifo Stricker, Rolf Fehlbaum’s friend, and fellow collector. Dieter Thiel designed the architecture of the Black Box, and the exhibition arrangement was developed together with French designer Ronan Bouroullec.

Visitors can experience the Black Box exclusively as part of a public guided tour.

cover image: Vitra Design Museum, Black Box, Space Elephant, Yoshiya, Japan, 1960, 21 cm, collection Rolf Fehlbaum, photo Moritz Herzog

Vitra-black-box-10-Robot-Liliput-KT-Japan-1937-15cm-Rolf-Fehlbaum-collection-Foto-Moritz-Herzog

Vitra Design Museum, Black Box, Robot Lilliput, KT, Japan, 1937, 15 cm, collection Rolf Fehlbaum, photo Moritz Herzog

Vitra-Black-box-robot-Dog-Yoshiya-Japan-1958-Rolf-Fehlbaum-Foto-Moritz-Herzog

Vitra Design Museum, Black Box, Magic Space Dog, Yoshiya, Japan, 1958, 15 cm, collection Rolf Fehlbaum, photo Moritz Herzog.

Vitra-black-box-15-Space-Kiddy-M-Japan-c1960-18-cm-Rolf-Fehlbaum-collection-Foto-Moritz-Herzog

Vitra Design Museum, Black Box, Space Kiddy, M, Japan, c. 1960, 18 cm, collection Rolf Fehlbaum, photo Moritz Herzog.

Vitra-black-box-16-Mechanical-Walking-Robo-oneya-Japan-c1965-10cm-Rolf-Fehlbau-collection-Foto-Moritz-Herzog

Vitra Design Museum, Black Box, Mechanical Walking Robot, Oneya, Japan, ca. 1965, 10 cm, collection Rolf Fehlbaum, photo Moritz Herzog   

Vitra-black-box-09-Telephone-Robot-Yonezawa-Japan-c1963-24 cm-Rolf-Fehlbaum-Foto-Moritz-Herzog

Vitra Design Museum, Black Box, Telephone Robot, Yonezawa, Japan, c. 1963, 24 cm, collection Rolf Fehlbaum, photo Moritz Herzog

images courtesy of Vitra Design Museum

Vitra Design Museum
Vitra Campus, Charles-Eames-Str. 2
D-79576 Weil am Rhein
https://www.design-museum.de


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