:: Part 14 – 28 June – Basel and Vitra Museum ::
(Scene from outside Basel Station)
I took the speed train from Zurich HB to Basel.
It was only during the train ride that I realized that
Most of the museums in Basel (and around Switzerland,
And maybe around the world as well, for that matter)
Were closed on mondays.
(The main Vitra Design Haus, seen from the Bus Stop)
And thus, upon arrival at Basel, I proceeded to the Tourism Office
And asked for directions to Vitra Design Museum.
Vitra was initially a suggestion by T the architect.
He recommended it during our previous ramen-lunch.
Vitra Design Museum is as much as a high-end furniture
Design house cum museum, as a showcase of architectural forms
And structures by the likes of architects such as Frank Gehry,
Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and Nicholas Grimshaw,
(The map of the various buildings, pasted onto my Moleskin)
I had to take tram 8 to a church and then bus 55 which brought me
Across the border into German territory (without having the need to
Have my passport stamped). Upon arrival at Vitra, I decided to pay
For both the entrance as well as the walking tour for 13.50 Euros.
(I had to pay with my Visa as I did not have any Euros with me.)
The tour took quite a while, as the guide had to alternate between
English and German to address two groups of visitors.
She was obviously better in German, as she engaged the German-speaking
Tourists a lot longer than the English-speaking ones.
And so we had to loiter around, pretending to be very interested
In every aspect of the architecture of the various buildings.
Zaha Halid’s version of the fire station was intriguing to me,
And I liked her sharp edges and the play with lines and shadows.
It made me think about how I’d like to buy a piece of land
In Singapore, in the future, and then build my ‘dream home’
As an expression of my design vision.
(Level Two of the Fire Station – Very avant-garde, and minimalist)
There was some discussion about the functionality of the fire station.
The local German firefighting professionals did not find Zaha Halid’s Fire Station
Function; they felt that it was too bare, and that certain glass panels did not
Facilitate the quickest movement of the firefighters into their fire engines.
The struggle between design and function persists, till this day.
(Frank Gehry’s Design of the Museum Proper – before he got famous)
The main museum building is a familiar representation of Gehry,
But likely a smaller initial idea that has evolved over time.
The guide used a term to refer to Zaha and Frank’s design.
I cannot remember the term now. Was it non-conformist?
(Tadao Ando’s interesting play with Concrete for the Seminar Rooms)
(The interior – One of the seminar rooms)
The walking tour ended at Ando’s creation. I then walked back to the
Museum proper, and tried a few berries at the cluster of nearby
Cherry trees. This was my first time seeing berries in their
Natural state and form.
As it was getting late, I quickly visited the Vitra Museum building.