Excursion tip: A day at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein

Advertisement: Collaboration with Vitra Campus

The Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein near Basel has been the subject of discussion on this blog several times. In the summer of 2012, I dedicated one of my very first blog posts to it. In the autumn of 2015, I visited the newly opened Schaudepot, and in the spring of 2016, I explored the Rehberger-Weg, which begins at the campus. This review not only shows that the Vitra Campus is a fantastically diverse destination, but also illustrates how time flies. After almost eight years since my last visit, it was definitely time to spend another day on the campus!

A Day at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein

Founded in 1950, the Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra has continuously expanded its factory premises in Weil am Rhein since the late 1980s, turning it into a campus and engaging renowned architects. Surrounding the VitraHaus, designed by Herzog & de Meuron – the company’s flagship store—are buildings by Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, and SANAA, among others. Additionally, there is a prestigious design museum including a Schaudepot. All of this is set within a park landscape that harmoniously blends contemporary garden design with old cherry trees, fitting seamlessly into the vineyards and orchards beneath the Tüllinger.

Especially now in spring, when the fruit trees are in bloom and the first colorful accents can be discovered in the garden designed by Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf, it’s a worthwhile destination! The following pictures, taken during our visit in early April, testify to this. From our now fourth visit to the Vitra Campus, we have also brought along tips for a day trip. In this post, I’ll show you how diverse a day on the campus can be. Inspiring, educational, active, relaxing, enjoyable – you can have it all.

09:30 AM: Strolling on the Vitra Design Path to the South Entrance of the Vitra Campus

The ways to get to the campus are as diverse as the possibilities for shaping the day there. For those, like us, who arrive by public transportation, you can either take Bus Line No. 55 directly to the VitraHaus from Basel Badischer Bahnhof. Alternatively, hop on Tram No. 8 at Basel’s train station and ride it all the way across Basel to the final stop, Weil am Rhein Bahnhof/Zentrum. From there, continue along the Vitra Design Path to reach the campus.

The approximately 20-minute walk passes by 12 showcases designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, where you can admire miniature versions of modern furniture design classics. Thus, the Vitra Design Path provides the perfect introduction to our day at the Vitra Campus.

10:00 AM: Starting the Day Cozily at Depot Deli

The Vitra Campus is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. However, at the Depot Deli, located on the Vitra Campus South right next to the Schaudepot, you can start your day at 9:30 AM with freshly squeezed juice, good coffee, and delicious sweet or savory dishes. My breakfast favorites: the Breakfast Bagel and the Ginger-Apple-Carrot Juice!

Another plus on beautiful spring days: You can enjoy not only breakfast but also the morning sun on the outdoor terrace in front of the Depot Deli.

Vitra Deli

10:30 AM: Admire the Chair Collection at the Vitra Schaudepot

Reinvigorated, we then proceed to the Schaudepot. The Schaudepot houses the extensive collection of the Vitra Design Museum. Originally, the main building of the Vitra Design Museum was designed by Frank Gehry as a collection building. However, today it hosts large temporary exhibitions. In contrast, the Schaudepot, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, offers a glimpse into the collection. Under the title “Colour Rush”, 400 collection items currently arranged by colors can be viewed. A visual highlight. Additionally, it’s worth taking the free look into the basement, where you can get a glimpse into the furniture and lighting collection.

Vitra Schaudepot

The Barragán Gallery, located in the Depot Deli building, is also worth seeing. The permanent exhibition is dedicated to the Mexican architect Luis Barragán.

Vitra Depot Ausstellung

11:15 AM: Stroll across the Campus to Oudolf’s Garden

Afterward, we walk from the southern part of the campus, passing by Zaha Hadid’s Fire Station, around the fenced area of the factory site towards the VitraHaus. The park area between the southern and northern parts of the campus is freely accessible. Since our last visit in 2016, some new attractions have been added.

Vitra Campus entdecken

Carsten Höller’s 30-meter-high Slide Tower has been an attraction on the campus since 2014. Somehow, I hadn’t really noticed it back then. The Slide Tower is freely accessible during campus opening hours, subject to the usage instructions. And believe me: You should not miss the ride down the 38-meter-long tube slide.

Vitra Rutschturm

New additions include the Oudolf Garden and the Garden House, designed by Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane. From its roof, you can overlook Piet Oudolf’s 4,000 square meter garden paradise in all its glory. The Dutch landscape architect is renowned as a pioneer of resource-efficient garden design, using perennial and self-regulating mixed plantings. This spring, alongside a few yellow and blue highlights, the lush green dominates. The garden is in full bloom from July to September.

Oudolf Garten

12:00 PM: Get Inspired at the Vitra Design Museum

The chairs placed in the garden invite you to linger longer. However, we don’t want to miss a look at the current exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum. Titled “Transform! Design and the Future of Energy,” it focuses on the radical transformation of the energy sector from a design perspective. An interactive and very inspiring exhibition that will resonate with me for a long time.

Vitra Design Museum

1:00 PM: Lunch Break at the VitraHaus Café

It’s been a few hours since breakfast at the Depot Deli, and our appetite is starting to return. The terrace of the VitraHaus Café, surrounded by blooming cherry trees, is already quite full. But we find a spot and share a soup of the day and a plate of lentil balls with market vegetables and mashed potatoes. The daily menu offers a manageable selection of regional-seasonal dishes at fair prices.

VitraHouse Cafe

2:00 PM: Participate in an Architectural Tour of the Vitra Campus

Just before 2:00 PM, we head to the meeting point for the Architectural Tour in front of the VitraHaus. The architectural tour was the main reason for my visit to the Vitra Campus back in 2012, and even now, 12 years later, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity. The architectural tours are offered daily in two to four time slots and last two hours. It might sound “long” – but believe me, even on my second participation, time flew by.

During the tours, you get a lot of background information about the history of Vitra and the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein. You also benefit from exclusive insights into buildings that are not otherwise open to the public. This includes the Conference Pavilion designed by Tadao Ando. Or – my highlight of the tour – a look inside the oval production hall designed by the architecture firm SANAA, which was completed at the end of 2012. The tour of Zaha Hadid’s Fire Station is also impressive. The absence of right angles and the color accents create astonishing optical illusions. Additionally, from the roof of the Fire Station, you get an entirely different perspective on the simple, monolithic Schaudepot.

Sanaa Produktionshalle Vitra
Vitra Fire Station
Vitra Schaudepot

By the way: Between May and October, on Sundays and public holidays, tours through the Piet Oudolf Garden are also offered in addition to the architectural tours. Here you can find more information about the offers: Tours and Workshops

4:15 PM: Coffee and Cake at the VitraHaus

After the architectural tour, we head back to the VitraHaus. We’ve been so busy with everything around that we haven’t yet taken a look inside the flagship store with its showroom spread across four floors. It’s best to start the tour at the top of the loft, which you can easily reach by elevator. There, you get a great panoramic view of the campus. Afterward, you can let yourself be inspired by the beautifully arranged living worlds of various styles. From Monday to Saturday, interior design professionals are present for personal consultations at the integrated Interior Studio. If you have specific questions or need help with orders and configurations, it’s worth booking an appointment in advance — alternatively, a spontaneous visit is also possible.

Blick auf Oudolf Garten

After that, I followed my own recommendation from 2012 and treated myself to a piece of Black Forest cake at the VitraHaus Café for afternoon tea. Quite handy, having a blog 😉. Even 12 years later, the cake tastes excellent.


4:45 PM: Pop into the Vitra Campus Circle Store

For those thinking about sprucing up their home with one or another piece of furniture after walking through the flagship store, I recommend a stop at the Circle Store. Here, used furniture from Vitra and Artek, as well as other accessories such as samples, trade fair, and exhibition pieces are sold. Prices depend on the condition of the products. This concept offers the opportunity to acquire a high-quality piece of furniture at a reduced price.

Good to know: The Vitra Campus Circle Store is only open from Thursday to Saturday (10:00 AM to 6:00 PM).

And before we know it, it’s after 5:00 PM, marking the end of our day at the Vitra Campus. For the return trip to Basel, we use Bus Line 55, whose final stop is Basel, Claraplatz, directly across from the Volkshaus Basel. The newly opened boutique and design hotel in 2021 has long been on our bucket list. For those who want to combine their day trip to the Vitra Campus with a short stay in Basel – definitely a recommendation. Alternatively, you can end the day with a walk along the five-kilometer-long Rehberger-Weg. You can find more information about that in this blog post.

Practical Tips for Your Trip to the Vitra Campus

  • The Vitra Campus is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. There is a public walking path through the campus, passing by Zaha Hadid’s Fire Station, Carsten Höller’s Slide Tower, and Piet Oudolf’s Garden including the Garden House. Also free of charge are the Vitra Design Walk and the Rehberger-Weg. On this page, you’ll find all the information you need to plan your visit.
  • For the visit to the Schaudepot and the Vitra Design Museum, admission tickets must be purchased. The combined ticket costs 21 euros (regular price). A single admission to the Schaudepot costs 12 euros, and to the Vitra Design Museum, 15 euros. You can find an overview of the current exhibitions here: Exhibitions at the Vitra Campus
  • The architectural tours are offered in German, English, and on selected weekdays in French. The individual ticket costs 16 euros (regular price). For a combined ticket including admission to the special exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum and the Schaudepot, the regular price is 35 euros. Those who want to play it safe can purchase the ticket including a time slot for the architectural tour in advance online.
  • From Switzerland, it is recommended to travel by tram No. 8 to the Weil am Rhein/Zentrum stop, including a 20-minute walk along the Vitra Design Path. For those who are less mobile, take bus line No. 55 from Basel Badischer Bahnhof (or from Basel, Claraplatz) to the Weil am Rhein, Vitra stop.
  • The Vitra Campus also hosts exciting events and talks on contemporary topics. This year, much revolves around sustainable construction. Additionally, the Vitra Campus organizes special Family Days. An overview is provided in the event calendar of the Vitra Design Museum.
  • For more tips about Basel, you can find them here: Basel – Excursion Destinations and Tips



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *