Furniture from the Tauber Valley for Thomas Mann House in California

The villa in exile of the Nobel Prize for Literature laurate reopens / Furnishings include armchairs from the Neutra by VS collection

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Lovell_Easy_Chair_TMH_Foto © Aaron Perez700x400.jpgMade in Tauberbischofsheim: The Lovell Easy Chair from the Neutra by VS is part of the interior design at Thomas Mann House in California (photo © Aaron Perez).

Tauberbischofsheim/Pacific Palisades. 1550 San Remo Drive, Pacific Palisades, California. This is the address at which the writer Thomas Mann lived with his family from 1942 to 1951 and where, among other things, he penned the majority of his Deutsche Hörer! radio broadcasts that the BBC broadcast to Germany.

In 2016, the German government purchased the villa for 13 million euros, thereby preventing its demolition. The property was then renovated for 5 million euros. On 18 June 2018, the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, inaugurated Thomas Mann House as a residence of the Federal Republic of Germany for intellectuals from culture, politics, the media and science.

“The house was so completely my own,” Mann wrote of the villa in his diaries. The plans were drawn up by Julius Ralph Davidson, an architect of the International Style, and stood for Mann’s new start in California. For the interior decoration, Mann commissioned his Berlin-born friend Paul Huldschinsky, who ensured the "dignified upper-middle-class” atmosphere and thus continuity, writes architecture critic Heinrich Wefing.

Eröffnung_THM_Fotos © Aaron Perez_700x230.jpgGerman President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the inauguration of Thomas Mann House on 18 June 2018 (photo © Aaron Perez)

Although following restoration the villa looks outwardly the same as it did in Thomas Mann's time, the inside was not restored true to the original. Led by LenzWerk Holding from Berlin, some of the most respected representatives of contemporary German and international furniture design and creative design worked together. The interior was funded by the Berthold Leibinger Foundation. For the funder and planners, it was important to retain the open feel of the house's interior and at the same time to give space to the former designers, such as Richard Neutra, Kem Weber and Marcel Breuer. 

This is why visitors to Thomas Mann House can now sit on furniture from the Tauber Valley – the Lovell Easy Chair and the Boomerang Chair. Both easy chairs are part of the Neutra by VS furniture collection. This collection was produced by VS to designs by the Austro-American architect Richard Neutra (1892–1970). The school and office furniture manufacturer based in Tauberbischofsheim bought the rights to the designs from Neutra’s son in 2012. Neutra drew them to produce one-off items and small series tailored to the villas and residential estates of his customers in California. Today, VS produces Neutra’s furniture at the artisanal scale.