Rolf Fehlbaum (ed.)

A Way of Life
Notes on Ballenberg

"A Way of Life" is an invitation to rediscover the material world with fresh eyes, inspired by the humble surroundings of Ballenberg. Ballenberg is an open-air museum in the Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps, which brings together farmhouses from across the country, spanning the 14th to 19th centuries. This book, edited by the entrepreneur and long-time driving force behind Vitra, Rolf Fehlbaum, is the result of a trip undertaken to Ballenberg by designers Jasper Morrison and architects David Saik, Tsuyoshi Tane and Federica Zanco.

The authors share a fascination with the simplicity, practicality and functional beauty of the world in which rural populations lived. "A Way of Life" compiles their observations and discoveries, revealing how architecture, furnishings and tools were always committed in their design and execution to the needs and necessities of everyday life; genuine solutions were found with the available means. Contemplating this intrinsic relationship between design, form and function, the book serves as a gentle reminder to resist the fads of today’s consumer world.

"A Way of Life" is an invitation to rediscover the material world with fresh eyes, inspired by the humble surroundings of Ballenberg. Ballenberg is an open-air museum in the Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps, which brings together farmhouses from across the country, spanning the 14th to 19th centuries. This book, edited by the entrepreneur and long-time driving force behind Vitra, Rolf Fehlbaum, is the result of a trip undertaken to Ballenberg by designers Jasper Morrison and architects David Saik, Tsuyoshi Tane and Federica Zanco.

The authors share a fascination with the simplicity, practicality and functional beauty of the world in which rural populations lived. "A Way of Life" compiles their observations and discoveries, revealing how architecture, furnishings and tools were always committed in their design and execution to the needs and necessities of everyday life; genuine solutions were found with the available means. Contemplating this intrinsic relationship between design, form and function, the book serves as a gentle reminder to resist the fads of today’s consumer world.

English edition – also available in German


“Architecture without architects, without a written plan, but always precisely executed with the magic of necessity.”
– Architectural Digest Germany

“A Way of Life: Notes on Ballenberg encourages people to find answers to how we can respond [...] to issues such as resource scarcity, sustainability, individual housing needs, craftsmanship and climate change."
NZZ Bellevue

“When people with an affinity to design discover the Open-Air Museum Ballenberg in Hofstetten near Brienz, Bern, it can result in an amazing book. (...) It is a very aesthetic book that uses calming photographs to focus on details of buildings from earlier times or invites the viewer to linger at a house and take in its stateliness.”
– Schweizer Bauer

Edited by Rolf Fehlbaum

Foreword by Rolf Fehlbaum

With photographs by Jasper Morrison, David Saik, Tsuyoshi Tane, Federica Zanco

With a contribution by Beatrice Tobler

With contributions by Jasper Morrison, David Saik, Tsuyoshi Tane, Federica Zanco

Design: Integral Lars Müller

15 × 20 cm, 6 × 8 in

208 pages, 168 illustrations

hardback

2023, 978-3-03778-726-7, English
CHF 30.00
New

Rolf Fehlbaum

Rolf Fehlbaum, born in Switzerland in 1941, studied social science and earned his PhD with a thesis on utopian socialism. Before becoming CEO and later chairman of Vitra, Fehlbaum was active in the production of art editions and documentary films and in architectural education. During his tenure at Vitra, he established relationships with many of the world’s leading designers and architects and developed projects with Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Álvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA, all of whom designed buildings for the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein. An avid collector of twentieth-century furniture, Fehlbaum founded the Vitra Design Museum in 1989, which is now considered one of the foremost institutions in its field.