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A chair and you

Jul 8, 2022

After its inaugural exhibitions in June, mudac, the Museum for Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, will present its first major exhibition, A chair and you, which will take over the entirety of the museum’s new exhibition halls in the heart of Lausanne’s new arts district, plateforme 10.

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A chair and you is the result of an important collaboration between Thierry Barbier-Mueller, who has amassed the largest private collection of artist, designer and architect chairs in the world, and legendary, multi-hyphenate artist Robert Wilson, who has designed the scenography for the exhibition. Barbier-Mueller began collecting chairs in the 1990s, drawn to the creativity and “explosion of spontaneity of designers such as Ron Arad, Tom Dixon and André Dubreuil.” Today the collection encompasses over 600 pieces, ranging from established artists to emerging talents, and ranging from unique pieces to protoypes or limited editions.

A chair and you marks the first time the collection will be presented to the public. This will be also mudac’s first large-scale exhibition to be presented in the new plateforme 10. Barbier-Mueller’s obsession with the chair could possibly only be matched by Robert Wilson, whose mind-bending scenography and artwork have used the chair in some of the most poignant and unexpected ways. Wilson has designed the installation, which takes over 1500 m2, in a series of four acts in different scenic situations that reveal the history of design from the 1970s to the present day. “What I like about Thierry’s collection is the diversity. This was for me one of the reasons to show this work and to show how the different pieces could counterpoint one another. In all the exhibitions I have designed I think about light, sound, architecture, the same way when I am making or writing a play. I have organized the exhibition with areas which have more light and are more colourful, with grey spaces, more meditative and neutral and spaces that are more aggressive. It is a construction of time and space. The choreography of the public is also considered one space where one is walking in circles patterns. A space where you are walking in strict geometric patterns. Spaces that are very dark and spaces that are very bright. The sound of each space was considered from the very beginning as well. I am excited about showing the Barbier-Mueller Collection and the opening of a new museum, this space is totally unknown to me and that is the challenge”, states Wilson.

Some of the artists and designers included are, Ettore Sottsass, Manfred Kleinhofer, Stefan Wewerka, Maarten Baas, Choi Byung-Hoon, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Shiro Kuramata.

The humble chair is perhaps the most repeated design form in the world. Daily releases of new models, re-issues of former models, or high-concept approaches to alter the typical format (think those stools used in tech companies or bouncy balls as chairs). Because of its essential use and need, there can be an endless exploration into its form and meaning and A chair and you offers an exciting opportunity to see some of the most creative, wildly fantastic and surprising designs.

A chair and you opens on October 28, 2022 and will be on view through February 5, 2023. A catalogue of over 400 pages will be published by Lars Mueller Publishers in October 2022 and will document the entire chair collection.





Stefan Wewerka, Klassenraum, 1971 Red lacquered wood, edition 17/40, 70 x 68 x 40 cm Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection, Photo by Patrick Goetelen
Manfred Kielnhofer, Interlux Chair, 2002 Plexiglas and neon, unique piece, 96 × 86 × 166 cm Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection © Patrick Goetelen
YKSI design, Bamboo Chair, 2007 Bamboo steel, prototype 1/10, 85 × 52 × 70 cm Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection © Patrick Goetelen
Schreiter et Stiletto_Studios, Collection Barbier Mueller ©Patrick_Goetelen
Views from the Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection, Photo by Nicolas Polli
Views from the Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection, Photo by Nicolas Polli
Robert Wilson, Photo by Yiogos Kaplanidis
Thierry Barbier-Mueller in front of a work by Silvia Baechli Photo by Pedro Neto

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