He was more than just a man in the wings who provided the technology and experience. Not until he had developed a functioning model could the design process begin. Egon Bräuning, the brilliant designer, inventor and inspiring partner to designers from throughout the world passed away at the start of September 2009. A picture of a workshop: In the foreground a prototype for a Maarten Van Severen recliner, and at the right edge a man who is bending forward and with one hand activating the lever that adjusts the recliner’s settings. You might be forgiven thinking that we have long since known everything there is to know about Vitra: The fundamental ideas of its CEO Rolf Fehlbaum are outlined in his essays and interviews and have been published on various occasions. The company’s close cooperation with architects and designs, the decisive underlying concepts, such as the principles of collage or of Net ’n’ Nest (combining networking and nesting to enhance productivity and well-being in the office) are long since being discussed in the public domain and not just a matter for insiders. So who then is the man who seems almost by mistake to have walked into the photo on the right-hand edge?