Special exhibition

Im Zentrum stehen viele verschiedene Stühle auf einem grauen, faserigen Teppich. Einige Stühle hängen auch von der Decke.




The museum displays one of the world's largest private collections of chairs designed by over 100 artists, designers, and architects from the 1960s to the present day. Since the late 1990s, the Genevan entrepreneur and collector Thierry Barbier-Mueller has brought together countless innovative and unusual chair designs whose quality goes far beyond the usual typology of chairs.

The presentation of the over 150 chairs was entrusted to the renowned American director and artist Robert Wilson. In an extraordinary staging, he immerses visitors in expansive worlds in which the chairs become the protagonists of a theatrical performance. With sound, light, and design elements reminiscent of stage sets, a very special atmosphere is created in which the iconic design object “chair” can be discovered in its many variations and in new ways. A CHAIR AND YOU presents guests with an "opera" in four acts and stages - with a scenography in which the history of art and design from the 1960s to the present day is told through Thierry Barbier-Mueller's unique collection.

The Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection

In the 1990s, Thierry Barbier-Mueller was fascinated by the creativity, freshness and great spontaneity of designers such as Ron Arad or Tom Dixon. Through spontaneous discoveries and encounters, he constantly acquired new objects, until finally a collection of more than 650 chairs from the 1960s to the present day was created. It includes works by international designers such as Ettore Sottsass, Ron Arad, Martino Gamper and Maarten Baas as well as visual artists such as Donald Judd, Niki de Saint Phalle, Lawrence Weiner and Franz West.

The collection, about two-thirds of which consists of individual pieces, prototypes or works from small, limited editions, reflects this interest in atypical objects outside the usual niches of industrial design. It is above all the object itself that has captivated him, its uniqueness, its plasticity, the humour it reveals, or its materiality.


Chantal Prod'Hom, Lausanne/ CH

Charlotte Savolainen-Mailler, Genf/ CH

Exhibition Structure and Design:

Robert Wilson/ New York, USA

Scenography: Annick Lavallée-Benny/ Montreal, CA

Lighting Design: Marcello Lumaca/ Mailand/ IT

Sound Design: Dario Felli/ Rom / IT

Personal Assistant to Robert Wilson: Liam Krumstroh

Project coordination GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts: Miriam Heckhoff

Graphics/Advertising: kocmoc.brand/ Leipzig

A co-production by Fondation Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva  and mudac - Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, Lausanne, adapted for the GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts.

book of the exhibtion

The book of the Thierry Barbier-Mueller Collection is available in the museum shop: "The Spirit of Chairs. The Chair Collection of Thierry Barbier-Mueller", Lars Müller Publishers 2022, 384 pages, 927 images (english/ french)


Thanks to

The exhibition is under the patronage of Her Excellency Livia Leu, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Federal Republic of Germany



Exhibition opening in the presence of Robert Wilson:
Tue, 7 May 2024, 7 pm

Artist Talk with Robert Wilson:
Wed, 8 May 2024, 6 pm

Press material

You'll find photos and press material here:

press area

press conference: Tue, 7 May, 11 a.m. in the presence of Robert Wilson

Interview with Robert Wilson

The famous American director talks about how he conceived and designed the set for "A CHAIR AND YOU".