In an interview with Dezeen, Vitra owner and board director Rolf Fehlbaum spoke about the state of the design industry and shared his thoughts for the future.
Fehlbaum said that a person who leads a design company is a "romantic because you believe you can do things for the world through design, which to an outsider sounds completely ridiculous," adding that "a design company works best when it’s relatively small, when it’s very personal, when there is somebody leading the company who is crazy about design, loves it and wants to do nothing else."
Fehlbaum believes that "for design it would be better if there were more independent companies" and used mega-company IKEA to illustrate just how small the industry is and should be, stating that "all the design companies together make 10% of what IKEA makes." Obviously IKEA's size has worked out well for them, but no industry could survive with 1,000 IKEAs competing against one another.
When asked how his small company has survived and grows while others disappear, Fehlbaum mentioned his family's involvement and said that "compared to some of the others maybe we have the critical mass. I think it’s a combination of believing in design, working in design, working with designers in a very personal way and at the same time being very careful that the business side works."
Head to Dezeen to read the rest of the interview.