The Marketing and Strategy Group in Weil am Rhein is devoted to the task of increasing the city's publicity and heightening its attractiveness to international visitors. With the complete support of this group's participants, the motto "Weil am Rhein-City of Chairs" was adopted and introduced as a new urban marketing concept in 1998.
The chair has been an object of everyday utility in our culture for many centuries - used by everyone, yet rarely accorded any notice. In spite of the fact that it is taken for granted, designers (both anonymous and famous) have repeatedly addressed themselves to the complex task of designing a chair.
As a result, countless variations of our classic seating furniture have been created. Time and again, new chairs attract our attention and awaken the desire in us to "take a seat." The chair does indeed look back upon a long and extremely varied history and will continue to develop into the future-whether this become manifest in the introduction of new shapes, through the use of new materials, or due to novel manufacturing techniques.
Weil am Rhein has played a role in the historical development of the chair for some fifty years now. At the production site of the Vitra company, a unique architectural ensemble has been constructed. Together with the Vitra Design Museum, which presents alternating exhibitions on topics of furniture design, it has indisputably become one of Weil's major attractions. Every year Vitra draws numerous domestic and international visitors to the city in the Dreiländereck. What would be more logical than to place the chair at the centre of a new urban marketing concept?
The goal of this concept is to increase the awareness of the product "chair" among Weil am Rhein's residents, guests, and visitors by presenting it within the civic setting in the most striking possible manner. Accordingly, local businesses sponsored the production of so-called "maxiatures," which have been erected at chosen sites throughout the city.
The "maxiatures" are oversized replicas of major chair designs in a scale ranging from 1.5:1 to 8:1. The Vitra Design Museum assisted the project by helping to select and produce the chairs, thereby ensuring that the objects in this "Open-Air Chair Museum" are completely true to the originals. In November 1999, the first nine chairs were unveiled during an international press conference. This event elicited an enthusiastic response from Weil's citizens and businesses. Since then, numerous additional "maxiatures" have been constructed.