Work in Portuguese marble in permanent installation at the Vitra Campus, in Germany

The Vitra Campus, in Germany, has from now on, in its gardens, a permanent piece made of Portuguese marble and produced in Portugal, with the Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec signature, one of the world’s most important design studio.

The piece designed by the French Bouroullec studio with the aim to be installed at the Vitra Campus is called “Fontaine” and was commissioned at the invitation of the experimentadesign under the First Stone programme, carried out in partnership with Assimagra and ran from 2016 to 2017. The Bouroullec integrated the group of the 26 designers and architects invited, proposing the “Fontaine” project. This was first presented to the public conceived in Rosa sem Veios marble and with 8-meter length, within the scope of the experimentadesign exhibition, at the Lina Bo Bardi Glass House, in São Paulo, in August of 2017.

After being invited by the charismatic Vitra director, Rolf Fehlbaum, to propose a permanent installation for the Vitra Campus, the Bouroullec brothers decided to do a larger version of “Fontaine”, with 16 meters and made this time with the unusual Verde Serpa marble.

Inaugurated on the last 13th of June, during the important Art Basel week, the Vitra Campus has now a permanent water fountain produced by the Portuguese industry and with national marble, joining the works of Carsten Höller, Jasper Morrison, Tobias Rehberger, Thomas Schütte among others. This industrial campus is also distinguished by some buildings designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando, Nicholas Grimshaw and SANAA.

At the international press conference that followed the work inauguration, Rolf Fehlbaum mentioned that “Portugal has great quarries, great quality of marble and artisanship. A year ago Guta Moura Guedes organized an exhibition here, with different architects doing objects in marble (…) and now we are placing here this installation”.


© Studio Bouroullec


About Fontaine

Fontaine is a water feature conceived for public or domestic use. Its modular construction allows for the configuration of fountains of different sizes, which bring the notion of water to indoor or outdoor environments. It is an artificial stream playing with sound and movement, just as it is a playground for children, where twigs and folded paper become floating vessels.

In line with their interest in the interface between manmade and natural elements, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec decided to explore the combination of stone and water. In this project, this is presented by the precisely, computer-controlled machined marble and the freely flowing water. With 16 meters, it is composed by 10 modules of 1.6 meter length each, in Verde Serpa marble. The fountain is fed by a metal tap, water runs down the slope and is pumped back up to the tap.


© Vitra Julien Lanoo


© Studio Bouroullec


© Studio Bouroullec


About Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan Bouroullec (b.1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (b.1976) have been working together for about twenty years now. Their collaboration is a permanent dialogue nourished by their distinct personalities and a shared notion of diligence with the intention to reach more balance and fineness. Their work has covered many fields, ranging from the design of small objects such as jewellery to spatial arrangements and architecture, from craftsmanship to industrial scale, from drawings to videos and photography. They have collaborated with leading design companies such as Vitra, Artek, Magis, Alessi, Established & Sons, Galerie kreo, Axor Hansgrohe, Flos, Kvadrat, Kartell, Kettal, Iittala, Cappellini, Ligne Roset, Nani Marquina, Mattiazzi, Mutina and Hay. Bouroullec’s designs are part of the permanent collections of select international museums and several exhibitions have been devoted to their work including the Design Museum, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Centre Pompidou Metz; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; the Vitra Design Museum or the FRAC Bretagne. Currently, their studio is located in Paris and engages around eight people.


© Asger Mortensen


Conference video: