If you ever stop by Basel, please make sure to visit the Vitra Campus, only a short car ride away, located in Weil am Rhein. This campus has truly become a large museum for architecture, with many buildings by “Archi-stars” such as: Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and Frank Ghery. This time however we would like to focus on the VitraHaus, which is an essential part of this museum complex.The VitraHaus, built by renowned Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron, is the brand’s flagship store and houses almost a full Vitra Home Collection, composed of furniture and design objects.

You can explore the four floors which exhibit the latest Vitra designs and, of course, the great Vitra classics, such as Alvar Aalto chairs and tables, Jean Prouvé’s distinguished wall lamps and other furniture pieces, Charles and Ray Eames’ complete collection of furniture and many other beautiful objects. The most exciting thing is that after this excursion into the history of design, you can order anything you liked and desperately need in your household in the store, located on the ground floor.

However, if you don't want to wait, then you can just buy some of amazing little design objects. You can choose from a wide range of publications on design and architecture, miniature renditions of classic chairs, wooden dolls by Kaj Franck, clocks by George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames collection of children's items.After spending your money on these lovely design objects, the next stage of your visit should be a stop at the Café located on the ground floor, right in front of the shop. Don't get it wrong - it is not a café but a real restaurant with a surprisingly delightful and tasty cuisine. All the dishes and desserts are prepared on the spot. In addition to the seasonal menu of fresh regional specialties, the chef serves a menu of the day, which in summer usually consists of grouper fish garnished with grilled vegetables; in winter of meat garnished with seasonal vegetables.

The menu also contains a variety of salads, homemade raviolis and soups. But the desserts deserve special mention; you will love all the different kinds of delicious cheesecakes and chocolate cakes. The children’s menu is unlike most other museum cafés, really made for children and is very tasty. The chef offers them small portions, not with oily fries, but with tender chicken breast accompanied by vegetables and pasta with homemade tomato sauce. To keep your little ones quiet, the staff brings them crayons and sheets of paper with Charles and Ray Eames elephants drawn on them. In summer you can also sit on the terrace with a stunning view of the flower meadows and Renzo Piano’s Diogène. In addition to the Café, the Airstream Kiosk sells delicious ice creams, hamburgers, small snacks and drinks.You can enjoy it while stretched out in the comfortable chairs, in the shade of the Cherry Grove spread around Vitra Campus.

Photo: Elizabeth Agronomova
Photo: Elizabeth Agronomova

The Kiosk also offers baskets, blankets and packed lunches to take along, in case you want to take a break and relax in the Vitra picnic area. You don't need to book a table, unless of course you plan on going during the Art Basel week. Amazingly enough, the Café and the terrace can be booked for private parties after 6 pm. So after spending a whole day walking through this museum complex filled with architectural masterpieces, why not celebrate them – and yourself of course.