Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A new design museum will start in China

The German collector Torsten Broehan (Torsten Bröhan) sold his design collection. It was bought by the China Academy of Art (CAA) to be part of a new design museum in Hangzhou.


Monday, December 3, 2012


The actualisation of ths blog finishes and will thank all the readers and "new" museums supporting me with information what they do. The situation today is different from the time of beginning at that time there was a gap, even designers did not know relevant museums close to their door! For any questions, you could contact me via and the email written there. Christos-Nikolas Vittoratos

In the Triennale Design Museum: Kama Sex and Design

An exhibition about the relationship between eros and design. But we know since a lot time ago that both are very close. So it  is only an interpretation of an old topic:

The German state radio Deutschlandfunk asks what a Designmuseum must be

The conclusion is found here, and also the audio file:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Inspired design" exhibition at Oslo Museum of Applied Art, 2001

In 2001, when design was on minimalistic roots, the Oslo Museum of Applied Art invited 12 contemporary designer to make the exhibition "Inspired design".

I found the official promo clip of 2001 in youtube:

a proposal for 2012:

Even if great design museums like the Neue Sammlung in Munich (with it's large collection) or the Design Museum London (with its retrospectives) are in big European countries. The most activities in contemporary design come from smaller European countries like the Netherlands or Finland.

A proposal started to celebrate in Finland the "World Design Capital 2012". We have exclusivly the proposal for download.

Link to download the .doc document of the initiative

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Promo-clip of tne Graphic Design Museum Breda

Two years old but still fresh:

Acropolis Museum, brand new and already a classic landmark

Michael Galanakis impressions from the new Acropolis Museum

It was a sunny afternoon of November 2009 that I visited the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The prestigious albeit modest built environment around the museum was bustling with construction work as it seems that the museum creates conditions fertile for more gentrification.

The pedestrianisation of the area around Acropolis has very much revived this part of the centre and the museum couldn’t find itself at a better place. Although all the surrounding buildings, mostly residential, are by no means architectural jewels, they however embrace the museum with a down to earth everydayness. Due to the inclination of the plot the museum – a block on block twisted configuration - sinks down from the main pedestrian street and it is as if it presents itself humbly to its neighbouring buildings and to the Acropolis on the top of the opposite hill. The first thing that I noticed approaching the museum entrance was the people staring at the ancient ruins discovered at the site of the museum while construction work was underway. We were all looking at what seemed to be walls of houses, rooms and yards, through the thick glass flooring strategically placed on the pavement of the outdoor area. Then there was the large hole with the glass railing around it for us to get a good glimpse of a larger part of the excavated ruins unearthed but still under the museum.
The crowds’ demographics were mixed but surely younger than your usual archaeological museum visitors, as schools around Greece get subsidise for their students to visit the new museum. After entering and going through the security control the foyer didn’t really prepare me for the beauty of the museum until I entered the gallery of the slopes with the inclined glass floor and the big staircase. Much of this area is an atrium with an impressive height where one can see the visitors standing on the glass flooring many metres above on the second level.
The central vertical unit of the museum (box in a box) carries the vertical circulation, distributes flows of movement and provides the toilets (it was strange that a toilet for wheelchair users couldn’t be locked from the inside something the personnel couldn’t explain), and surrounds the big atrium.
The main exhibition areas of the museum are organized so that the higher one goes the closer to the exhibits of Parthenon she gets.
The archaic gallery of the first floor is specious and luminous. The main attraction of the second floor is the multimedia room with a well-made (although a bit traditional) video on Acropolis. The third and top floor is for the Parthenon gallery. In the peripheral areas of the first floor one can study from close by many of the impressive sculptures of Acropolis. In these areas the statues are bathed in the great light of Attica. The generous height and the full-height glazing that surrounds the exhibition halls make sure that the modern city, along with its ancient ruins, is in direct dialogue with the exhibits and the interior of the museum. I found the top floor to be the most favourable exhibition area. The external glass panels are there but for some reason the museum authorities had decided to use the blinds, and the light as well as the temperature were very agreeable. This is the floor where the pediments of Parthenon are exhibited. What a strange feeling it was to see once more how fragmented the compositions are and how much there seem to be missing. For a while I thought I was at a minimalist gallery where the luck of clutter was remarkable. The pediments, I am afraid didn’t take my breath away (maybe due to their fragmentation and disembodiment I felt even a bit sad), but they certainly were imposing in the monochromatic neutrality of the interior (which is noticeable everywhere but here even more). What did take my breath away was the view to the Acropolis and Parthenon itself. All around the top floor and adjacent to the glass external panels there is built a continuous marble covered tier that also includes some air-conditioning (give away: the grids on top of the tier). The tiers are built so that one properly sitting on them faces towards the interior of the museum (although views to the city are hard to miss). Without thinking too much I sat cross-legged on the tier by the glass panel facing Acropolis and with my back to the interior of the museum.
I am not going to write much about the museum shop or the café/restaurant. Suffice to say that the museum shop is just another shop selling not terribly original merchandise. The café/restaurant is appropriate to the museum aesthetic although a bit too bare. The terrace on the other hand that “hangs” on the side facing Acropolis is rightfully a popular spot. People were waiting in queues to get a table and enjoy their cappuccino overlooking Acropolis, and in precious shade.
The entrance to the museum was a symbolic 1€. That was probably the best spent 1€, in Athens!

In conclusion the museum of Acropolis is sober, and elegant although rather monolithic (surely the plot of land dictated that). The finishings correspond to what modernists would call “honest use of materials,” and the intermingling of interior and exterior is true to a very modernist virtue; transparency. The grey palette of finished concrete is dominant, as the pre-fabricated concrete elements are refined and visible. With the museum of Acropolis architects Tschumi and Photiadis give a lesson of neo-modernism; some Greeks will see it as foreign to their aesthetic values, while others will be happy to endorse it as one more example of good official architecture in Greece. Something is definitely cooking in Athens!

Michail Galanakis, D.Arts. Helsinki

Acropolis Museum

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Design Museum Holon opened!

Israel’s first museum of design opend on February 2nd in a large cultural complex in Holon, 4 miles south of Tel Aviv. The building was designed by the London-based Ron Arad (he made famous "bookworm" shelf for Kartell). The museum also includes an education area, design archive, and café.

The website of Design Museum Holon
Article in the Haaretz (external link)
Article in the "architectural record" magazine (external link)

Video about the building:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 2009 biannual Habitare

The 2009 biannual Habitare fair (Weblink) of Helsinki finished last weekend. Habitare 09 was a joyful event that took place at the biggest exhibition venue of Helsinki; an extra large box to be filled with the best Finnish and plenty of international design can offer.

In fact internationalisation was evident in the presence of numerous projects wherein Finnish joined forces with foreign creative agents. See the case of the beautiful furniture designed by glocal talents Mikko Paakkanen and Naoto Niidome for the Japanese furniture company magaru, or the Italian company MAGIS with their colourful exhibits from legendary Eero Aarnio (pappy/stool, toy) and Oiva Toikka (paradise tree/cloth hanger) but also Javier Mariscal’s Villa Julia (play house). Skanno is one of the Finnish Companies with a long lasting footprint on the design world. It is a family business run since 1946 and going strong into the new millennium. The presentation of Skanno included their own line of furniture and some of the classic favourites of the house that they are going to get back into production, such as the Bomba armchair by Hillevi Sepponen from 1954, or the Lago table by anonymous from the 60s. Skanno is also taking into production strong ideas by new up-and-coming international designers, such as Tsutomu Mutoh with his playful high-tech lambs. The company is getting a new flagstore in the centre of Helsinki and launches a full scale interior design service. I must thank Shoreh Tervanen and Zeina Naso two of the in-house designers of Skanno who enthusiastically showed me around Skannos’ exhibits.

There were many projects that caught my attention in Habitare 09: the wooden lambs by Secto Design; the winning hanging chair by Samuli Naamanka; the very interesting exhibition design at savo a company specialising in kitchen appliances and lighting; the IGLOO book selves system by Linda Bergroth; Anna-Mari Vierikko’s lambs; the minimalistic designs from the brand Selki-Asema; NOUNOU design and Anu Penttinen’s “city plan” retro glass relief for the wall; the excellent project of the 15 designers’ collective called Design Migration; the slick furniture by the company Rintala; the classic and beautifully crafted wooden coffee table by late Ilmari Tapiovaara revisited for Aero; the essential mökki (cottage) by Naoto Niidome for Aamon a project with of far-east simplicity and spiritualism perfectly suiting Finnish back-to-the-basics style. Indeed there is not enough space here to go through the powerful display of design creativity in Habitare 2009. Before closing, though, I must add that sauna is a theme that is time and again revisited by Finnish designers.

It is in a way playing with the theme of Finnishness. This year too there were a few examples of studies on the Finnish sauna; the ones I visited were thoughtful examples of design amplifying the experience of sauna … right back to its essence, whatever that is.

Enjoy the photos!

Michail Galanakis

HABITARE, Helsinki 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Museo Mexicano del Disegno

The MuMeDi (MUSEO MEXICANO DEL DISEÑO) is a small design museum in Mexico opened in 2002 and curated by the private MUMEDI A.C. It operates a hotel and a café as well.

I found a video about a visit in this museum:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Design Museums Blog in the "100 Best Curator and Museum Blogs"

Our blog was chosen by Amber Johnson to be one of the "100 Best Curator and Museum Blogs" . You can see the complete list on

Friday, May 1, 2009

Visualisations of the new 9,300m³ Design Museum London

The visualisation by OMA architects
The link to an article about the new Dsign Museum in London

MAK Cologne, where are the objects?

Last November the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (Museum for Applied Art Cologne) renovated its design collection, so I decided to see what's new, and made a trip to Cologne. The exhibits were reduced and many texts and pictures where added. The order was traditional chronological and typical furniture oriented.

This museum is a good place to discover furniture design history, but there is no overview over design history in general: E.G. there is only one TV-Set (the famous Brionvega cube), but no other for comparison (like the TVs by Starck for Thomson, the Braun TV3 or some well-designed Philips TV). There were also no samples for graphic design but many pieces of modern art mixed between the items.

Let me say there was too much rumour about an conventional and unreflected permanent exhibition. It is the right place for somebody who belives that industrial design is in mayor furniture design and something like art. For people seeing design as a work sharing society it isn't.

See the album:

Köln, Museum für angewandte Kunst

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Panasonic Design Museum, a new virtual design museum

It's nothing new to read about a company's history and their past products on their website. Panasonic is one step ahead and made the "Panasonic Design Museum" with background informations to every product and its time.

Discover and learn on: Link to Panasonic Design Museum the entry is free

Friday, November 21, 2008

Visiting an other museum in Germany: The MKG in Hamburg

The official website of Hamburg describes the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Art and Business) as "one of Europe’s most important museums for applied arts". And the facts are impressive too: 220000 visitors p.a., openend in 1877 as an arts & crafts museum an historic building with a new wing designed by the famous German architect Schürmann (*1928).

So my tour to Hamburg included also a visit of this museum. The entrance fee was not very cheap but included the free use of an audio-guide and a personal instruction to this tool. I did not take the regular route but started at the furniture design collection. Post modernism is an important part of this collection, but all classics like the Aluminum Group and Lounge Chair by Eames or chairs by Panton are found here too. I missed design classics that are not furniture. But on display was only the Valentine typewriter by Sottsass and two audio objects made by Brionvega. A big surprise was the great exhibition of pianos. It was a kind of best of piano history. From decorative cembalos to modern grand pianos. I missed only the music. Let me say only this collection is worth to be visited, even if there were no modern items, like the Porsche Design piano for Bösendorfer. Other collections include antiquities from ancient Greece, Asia and Arabia. Interesting are the barocque interiors.

A surprise were the free exhibition posters for visitor at the exit/wardrobe. I took two designed by Ott+Stein made for the "Käfer: der Erfolgswagen" exhibition from 1997.

The photo album from the visit:
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Design vs. Art

How often design is confused with art and how often art is inspired by design? Michail Galanakis collected some impressions at the Art Fair Suomi 08:

On Thursday the 11th of September there was the opening of the Finnish Art Fair 2008. Venue was the famous Cable Factory and the organizers (MUU artists’ association) managed to put together a terrific show. Admittedly here reigns photographic art but contemporary, experimental, exciting. Painting was almost absent, and only a few attempts for sculptures. Video and performative arts were also present. Could this signify the trivialization of the art scene? Or simply the desire of the artists for reproducible less time consuming pieces that can sell at reasonably high prices in these times of artistic pluralism (saturation?) and foreseeable economic crisis? In any case it seems to work! There was certainly a commercial interest motivated by the wide artistic offer and its affordability. The highlight of the opening was the performances of London based Finnish artist HK. With her funny uncomplicated lyrics and staging she comments on popular culture and sexualisation. Briefly my impression of the fair is this: Finnish artists often demonstrate a dark idiosyncrasy; the “put-a-smile-on-your-face” occasions though do take place and consist of the instances when Finnish dryness and quirkiness make their defining artistic splash. For more:

by Michail Galanakis

Link to the complete picture gallery

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

World first Graphic Design Museum opened in Breda

On 11th June 2008 opened the world first Graphic Design Museum. The Institution is located in Breda in the Netherlands and describes itself "as museum, knowledge centre, teaching environment, shop for image culture, designer café and production house for graphic design". If it is the right thing to show only graphic design or not, which place could be better to show graphic design if not the Netherlands.

Museums' Website

Monday, May 26, 2008

Design Museums exhibit in Istanbul

During the ‘Design Cities’ festival the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art opened an exhibition with 109 masterpieces from the London Design Museum, Vitra Design Museum, London Victoria & Albert Museum, Thonet Museum and Centre Pompidou showing the work of 64 designers including William Morris, Owen Jones, Christopher Dresser, Adolf Loos, Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Achille Castiglioni, Ettore Sottsass, Gio Ponti, Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffman. Source:fibre2fashion

It is the first world class design exhibition in Turkey, and -who knows- perhaps a first step towards a Turkish Design Museum. During the last years a lot of new design impulses came from Turkey, with designers like Aziz Sariyer or companies like Nurus.

Website of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Monday, April 14, 2008

Visiting the MAK Vienna

Its permanent collections are displayed in a series of exhibition halls in the first floor, each of which has its own period (Renaissance, baroque, oriental, art deco) as well as a room about the Wiener Werkstätte (company that manufactured items of Austrian Avantgarde designers like Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser) and a room with architecture models.

The 'Studiensammlung' in the basement contains fascinating studies of different materials, like metal, wood, ceramics and the furniture collection. This part seems to be the more succeded part of the collection. It looks like a stock house and the clear white painted walls without windows focus the view on the exhibits.

The exhibition in the first floor suffers from the strong and heavy decorated rooms. It's hard to feel them, because the building draw off the attention, e.g. in the floor it was hard to see the welded architecture model of Zaha Hadid's Feuerwehrhaus.

The wide range of rare exhibits give a goog overview of 20th century design, for experts it is the best place to see and discover the relevance of the Austrian part of the modernist movement. In an other city this would be the mayor tourist attraction, but competition is hard in the capital of Habsburg and music history, historism and art decó and the viennese coffee houses. But visit the MAK and you will see Vienna with other eyes!

1863, since 15th November 1871 in this building, 1875-1877 new wing. In 1989-1993 there was a complete renovation and an additional wing built. The main building is a historistic building of similar structure and condition as the UPM in Prague and the first museum on the Ringstraße (the elegant ring-boulevard)

Web site
Poor and only for advertising made websites were my motivation to begin the design museums blog. But the website of the MAK Vienna is good and gives you a extensive overview of its activities. See the notable online-database of the collection or the online-database of Austrian design.

See the album with pictures from the museum
MAK Wien

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ID100Y, how designers celebrate design history

Last year I read a book about Peter Behrens who was the first industrial designer in history. Talking with Daun, a friend from my time at HfG Offenbach we discussed how can designers celebrate the 100th birthday of industrial design. We have no material exhibits and no background of an historicians education. So we started to redesign some design classics of the past.

See the results and vote for your favourite design!

Triennale Design Museum in Milan

On 6th December opened the Triennale Design Museum. Here is an adverting film about it (only in Italian):

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nordic Museum in Seattle hears focus on design

In Seattle a 75,000 square foot museum will be constructed at a cost of $50 million. The basic concept was a museum that can host major international exhibits, showcase local Scandinavian history and art, while becoming an international level institution emphasizing Nordic design, culture and heritage. The concept was changed from a historic towards a more design oriented museum. It could be the first museum of Scandinavian design outside Europe and the first design museum dedicated on the design of an other country.

Read more in the article of

Is the museums exhibition design worth to be preserved?

A museum preserves and exhibits this. Sometimes the building is an exhibit itself, if it is built by an famous architect, or if it is of historic relevance.

But what if the exhibition design becomes historic as well? In 1976 the famous functionalist German graphic designer Otl Aicher made the corporate design of the "Historisches Museum Frankfurt". From pictograms to displays and prospectus. Today only some fragments remain in the prehistoric and numismatic department.

The clear functional design of the Ulm School (founded by Inge Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill) already vanished from daily life, and my generation could experience it only by books or some exhibits. In this museum somebody can see the perhaps last remaining original exhibition made by Otl Aicher. It's future is unsafe because the geat parts of the Museum will be teared down and replaced by a new building.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Design Museum Bag" for £1

Everybody knows the commercial activities of museums offering things to take with you as a souvenir. From postcards to reeditions of exhibits, you will find a lot of things. My favourites are the book shop in museums, they offer also catalogues and posters of older exhibitions.

The Design Museum in London sales reusable bags also through numerous retailers, the - Design Museum Bag is sold for just £1 to reduce the use of plastic bags. It's a re-usable non-woven bag, available with a long shoulder strap or as a double-handled shopper, both featuring the Design Museum artwork on a black background.

More on the Design Museum Online-Shop

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sign of the Times

What could be more impressive in graphic design than the many illuminated advertisings at night. In Hong Kong they are even a kind of tourist attraction.

Today I found an article in the web that in Cincinnati exists the American Sign Museum. It opened in 2005 as an non-profit museum and shows an selection of the 300 signs. About 2,000 people visit annually. The response has been good enough that the museum will open in a new site late this year or in early 2009. The new property will initially more than triple the current space and provide 28-foot-high ceilings to accommodate larger signs.

Article in USATODAY
Website of the American Sign Museum

photo: design museums blog

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Visiting Nuremberg: The "Neues Museum" and the "DB Museum"

Yesterday I was in Nuremberg. The capital of the Franconian County in Bavaria is well known in Germany for it's Christmas market and the traditional Christmas sweets like "Lebkuchen". The last time I visited this town during my studies in 2003 on a step to Munich. We visited the "Neues Museum" (which hosted exhibits of the "Neue Sammlung" design collection at this time) and the Nazi buildings with the world war II documentation centre. At my trip yesterday I decided to see the "Neues Museum" (new museum) again and was disappointed. In 2003 I was surprised by the freshness of the building and the ambivalence of industrial design and contemporary art side by side. The design items are at the present time not showed, but the art collection did not benefit from the surplus of space. It is a fact that you will find some famous artists like Beuys or Avramidis, but you will miss a general system or a path. The permanent art exhibition looks like an overdimensioned flea market of expensive works without any system. Even a private collector would invest more time in a concept of uniformity or a patchwork. So it is not a wonder that this museum has a lack of visitors, even if it is in the heart of town. It is too boring for tourists and too poor in exhibits for art fans. Let's see what happens when the design collection is back!

After this shock the "DB Museum" was a real oasis! The Museum of three former state owened companies (Deutsche Bahn - the railways, Deutsche Post and Deutsche Telekom) shows the history of technology under a strict chronological order. Many objects are of course also stepstones of industrial design. The museum is also very friendly to children, many things could be touched or be put in operation. From a design aspect interesting in the railway department was the 1:1 model of the ICE 3 (incl. the interior!) designed by Alexander Neumeister and Siemens; corporate design manuals, posters and furniture of stations. The communication department showed some cars, a good phone collection (they could be tried) and also posters. Here I missed a good attribution to stamp design (but this is showed at the other museums of the Deutsche Post). A seperate hall on the other side of the street, shows some additional rolling stock without any explanation.
In general this museum shows not the great treasures of technology, but if the criteria is the education, it could be one of the best in teaching technology and its history.

With 4€ for every museum the admission price was fair.

Click on the picture to see the photo album of this excursion:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hangaram Design Museum

The Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul is located within the Seoul Arts Center, an cultural institution for music (music hall & opera house) arts (Fine Art Plaza & art museum, calligraphy art museum) and design.

Three different exhibitions were displayed at the Hangaram Design Museum, at the entrance is a popular cafe, conspicuous with the colourful Philippe Starck chairs.

All light! All right? (new influences in lightning design)
Dialog in the dark (the famous dialog museum exhibition)
Verner Panton (retrospective)

I went first to all light! All right? It was huge hall in dark. At the beginning there were cabinet/ square box for display of each light. Here was displayed work of famous international designers. And far inside was displayed work of Korean designers. In a free space without box, each light has enough space for it own lightning.

And in a separated hall there was fashion light! Passion light exhibition. This was consisting of 4 designers. Philippe Starck, Verner Panton, Jasper Morrison, Susanne Kessler & Petra Eichler.

On the wall was made with Paper cut art a nature in a deep forest. Such as a bird and trees and small dear. In the middle of the hall was a island on which was furniture and light of each designer displayed.

The Verner Panton retrospective showed famous exhibits like the Panton chair, the Heart corn and corn chair but also the many lightnings he made for Louis Poulsen.

After my visit in design museum I have also seen the Calligraphy Art Museum and art museum. In Art museum i could see fresh drawings of young Korean painters. Many of them were young but also well known in their branch. They were whether professor of university or winner of an award. I could see by this exhibition young talented painter in our generation in Korea. As following program was in Calligraphy Exhibition named “Emtpy Fullness” by Choi, Jung-Gyun. His widow sponsored these Drawings for this Exibihition. His work was Drawing with Poem or Writing only.

Text by Daun Chung

It was prohibited to make photos, but I found a good flickr-album about the Verner Panton Exhibition.

Monday, December 24, 2007

coming soon: Hangaram Design Museum

Daun visited the two design museums in Korea, and will inform us soon about her impressions. Here are some photos of the first one:
Hangaram Design Museum, Seoul

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Plexiglas exhibition in Darmstadt

Today I visited an exhibition at Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt.  It is about Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or bether known as Plexiglas.
This  extremely weather-resistant plastic was developed to patent stage in 1933 by the Darmstadt-based Röhm company. Its constant high transparency, light weight as compared with glass and wide range of forming options are the attributes that make PLEXIGLAS® an equally attractive material for architecture and design.

With its variability in production this plastic put its stamp on the modernist movement, and made complex forms also feasable with transparency. From Panton's lightnings and chairs to the light roof construction of Munich’s Olympic Stadium, many new forms were made possible by this material.

Mathildenhöhe, where the exhibition was shown is also the birthplace of the german art deco movement (Jugendstil). Several houses and a museum show how this movement opened the way to modernism. This place near Frankfurt is until today important for the design scene because there is also located the "Design Zentrum Hessen" and the "FH Darmstadt - design faculty".

Our photo album from this excursion:
Plexiglas exhibition

Museum Künstlerkolonie in Darmstadt (Mathildenhöhe)
16th Sept. 2007 to 24. March 2008

Website of the Museum and the exhibition

Sunday, December 2, 2007

BMW Museum closes until 2008

On 6th December the popular BMW Museum in Munich closes to reopen in 2008. After renovation the exhibition will grow from 1000m² to 5000m². After the great new Porsche Museum and Mercedes Museum (both in Stuttgart) the BMW institution seemed a little bit old fashioned. In front of the Museum BMW opened the BMW World, a center for visitors and customers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

1000 visits on design museums blog!

Thanks for all contributors and all visitors

Great design exhibitions of the past #3

The Origin of Things (Dutch: Het ontstaan der dingen) was an exhibition from 10th May to 27th July 2003 at Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Important contemporary and past designers were presented with a sample and its design and production process.

The catalogue edited by Thimo Te Duits with good contributions is unfortunatly sold out.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Vintage Mac Museum

Virtual Design Museums must not only be virtual presentations of products, but could also be a good platform for historic software and their surfaces. I knew some good sites showing historic webdesign. The Vintage Mac Museum is a good sample for a combination of showing historic soft- and hardware as well.

Link to the Narita's Vintage Mac Museum

A museum will open in the "Design District Miami"

Since 1998, more than 50 showrooms and 10 architecture firms have opened in the "Design District" of Miami. Now it is planned to open the Craig Museum of Contemporary Art & Design.

"A museum project is stirring debate in the Miami Design District. Miami Beach-based Dacra Development is on the verge of erecting a 42,000-square-foot, six-story contemporary art museum at 140 N.E. 39th St., despite complaints by residents of the nearby Buena Vista East Historic Neighborhood Association."

Article in the Miami Post

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Zaha Hadid exhibition in the Design Museum London (until 25th. Nov)

The Design Museum is just east of Tower Bridge. I was surprised to read that the exterior design is not original, but constructed to look like vintage International Modern Style. There's a bookstore and cafe on the ground floor, then two floors of exhibits. It's not terribly large and there is an entrance fee. Currently there is an excellent exhibit showcasing the career of architect Zaha Hadid.

The first room was so theatrical at first I didn't know what I was looking at. The shot above is simply a table of architectural models in front an entire long wall of projected images. Hadid's work ranges from modern 21st century to certainly where no man has gone before. Her buildings are highly imaginative, many of them quite organic.

The children's book author and illustrator Scott Santoro writes in his blog about life in London.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Designweek here, Designweek there, Designweek everywhere

I'dont know which city was the first, but today we have I think a dozen design weeks in Europe. On the one side it is a chance for improving the public interest on design, on the other side we must ask which image of design is displayed.

The public interest should not only dissipated for displaying interior and lightning design, even f this is the most impressive for public installations. Most design is made in other subjects: Cars, machines, tools, software etc.

The question will be not which forms of design are the most spectacular, but what can design do to improve standard of living for as much people as possible on a economic way.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Visiting Hanover: The Kestner-Museum and the Sprengel-Museum

Yesterday I was in Hanover. The capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany is well known for the great Sprengel Art Museum and the EXPO world exhibition which take place in 2000. Until today publiv transportation is well designed: Trams and busses are custom designed from James Irvine for the city and every bus stop is designed by an other designer as a sculpture in public space. I visited two museums, the Kestner-Museum (of Decorative Arts and Design) and the Sprengel Museum (of Art).

The first is not very huge, it displays from ancient Egyptian to Modern items of public life (especially metal works and furniture). A quite new department is about industrial design.
I don't know much about antiquities, the two mumies impressed me (there is a stereolithograpy model of the head inside, and x-ray pictures), the rest was ok. The industrial design department has not many exhibits, but all are notable (e.g rare Bauhaus-furniture). In the basement there was a temporary exhibition about Art Deco also with some design objects: a object o Christopher Dresser and some Behrens water kettles.
It should be mentioned that there is a path for children with special exhibits.

The Sprengel Museum is well known in Germany and very big, an aditional wing was opened in 1992. You will find works of almost all important artists of the 20th century. The works of contemporary artists show no surprices (other similar are known from otherwhere), notable is the donation of the Frenc artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, who donated 300 of their works to this institution, many are very unconvetional and show an other facette of her. German art of the beginning cebtury is also well represented. The artist Kurt Schwitters came from Hanover, his atelier is reconstructed inside the museum.
See also our picture album from Hanover:
Sprengel Museum + Kestner Museum

Friday, October 12, 2007

National Palace Museum, Taipei

I’m glad that I could visit the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
How people use the things in their daily life is the important part for designer to observe. We can see the different shape from the past how they made, and their amazing thoughts from the Ancient in China. As a designer, it helps us to broaden the immeasurable horizons, and to reconsider the point of view of current design.

Shin-Chia Huang, (

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Visitors welcome

More people visted museums in UK than games in the Premier League, and with 42,ooo,ooo visitors the numbers are much more higher than the visitors of theatres and musicals.
Especially art [and design] museums benefit from this world wide boom. 120,000 visitors came to a single exhibition in Hamburg, 500,000 to the National Gallery in Berlin.

Source: an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine (only in German)

"Nature Design - From Inspiration to Innovation"

is an exhibition at the "Museum for Gestaltung in Zürich" until 2th December. It refers on the phenomenon nature as a source of inspiration for design and architecture. Here is a short film about it:

Seeing the film my question is, if every organic designed can be labelled as "nature design"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

300% Spanish Design

The travelling exhibition was first made as a Spanish contribution for the Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan and was shown at the Saitama Museum of Modern Art. Later it travelled around the world. I visited the exhibition in Athens.

It is nothing unusual that a county presents itself by it's design, but it was new to show a country's history by design. 100 chairs 100 posters and 100 lamps stand for the development of Spanish industrialisation and culture.

The tour through time begins with Gaudí’s modernisme in the Art Deco period, and moves forward to the rationalist Gatepac movement until functional and post-modernism industrial design.

See also our picture album from the exhibition:
300% Spanish Design

Museo Dell'Arredo Contemporaneo

Furniture and especially chairs are very popular items for design museums (see article about chairs). The Museo Dell'Arredo Contemporaneo in Ravenna collects only furniture and displays the change from art deco to modernism and pop-art. Unfortunatly it is closed, so we can show only this short film about the permanent exhibition.

Objects: 150 items in exhibition (1880-1980)
Link to the museum

Beijing Design Museum

He Yuehua runs a private museum of design that hosts also experimental art shows and rock concerts.

- Poster art from Japan after World War II
- Danish and Swedish Design: consumer products, furniture and environmental design.
- Design 2000 Project: works by artists from more than 50 countries to celebrate the end of the millennium.

Article about the museum in "Beijingscene"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Design in Prague's museums

Last weekend I was in Prague. Unfortunatly my favourite National Museum of Technology (Národní technické muzeum) is closed for one month, so I vistited the Museum of Decorative Arts (upm) and the National Museum. Both are located in closer down town in custom-made buildings designed by the architect Josef Schulz. The entrace was in both around 5€/6$.

The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Decorative Arts (Uměleckoprůmyslové museum) consists 4 halls on one floor. It shows a lot of handcrafts, especially baroque household goods, clothes and furniture, the 20th century seems to be under-represented.

I expected exhibits of cubism and functionalism, both very important for Czech and European design, but was disappointed: Cubism was represented by only one armoir in this building and nothing was displayed on functionalism (perhaps both are displayed in the dependances)
The important comtemporary Czech typography was represented by 6 posters with font samples from Marek Pistora and the corporate design manual of the museum (it could be more). Interesting was the exhibition Models&Prototypes showing sketches with design of
baroque items. You can see how that the division of labour was high developed even this time.

I suspect that the rich collection is not displayed in an exhibition, some topics have own external buildings in Prague:

Cubistic exhibits are shown in the Museum of Cubism (Celetná Street)
19th, 20th and 21st century art at the Trade Fair Palace (Dukelských hrdinů Street)
Prague Jewellery Collection (Cihelná Street)

The National Museum is very big, several departments show the history of geology and flora & fauna (worldwide) and the history of civilisation (Czech and Slovak Republik). The exhibition concept seems old fashioned but is in very good condition, so it is an exhibit itself. I hope it will be preserved and not be changed.

See the picture album of the visit:
Prague, Sept. 2007

FACTS Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM)
Founded: 1818 (building from 1885-1891 Arch: Josef Schulz)
Permanent exhibition renovated in 2000

FACTS National Museum
Founded: 1885 (building from 1897-1899 Arch: Josef Schulz)
Objects: 14,000,000 items

Thursday, September 27, 2007

History of presentation in design: See this film made in 1996!

I asked myself how design projects were visualised without Powerpoint, Flash or other programs. I did'nt find any useful material in the web. But here is an interesting presentation from 1996, when presenting with the computer was not very common. The presented concept is about a pre-GPS navigation system

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The chair, a popular object in design museums

Chairs sitting pretty as a design icon, but for how long? is an article from Alice Rawsthorm who lives in London:

...Why have chairs assumed so much importance? We all need comfortable objects to sit on, and to suspend us at the correct height to type or eat, while, we hope, saving us from back pain. But isn't it odd that something that was designed to do just that should occupy more cultural space than arguably more useful and complex objects? How has the chair been loaded with so much symbolism and meaning, and attained such stratospheric prices? And will it be as important to the design history of this century, as it was to the last? ...

The complete text: an article in the Herald Tribune

Photo: C. Vittoratos in the exhibition 300% Spanish Design in Athens

Design Week Helsinki 2007 #3 the habitare fair

The Design Week Helsinki is running the same time as the HABITARE, the biggest Finnish furniture and interior design fair. Michail Galanakis visited the fair on 23th September:

I waited the last day to visit Habitare 07. Already the reputation of ahead! had spread: this was the part most interesting regarding new concepts, experimental design and fresh outlooks. Most of the pictures that accompany this text are from ahead! and concerned design production companies, design associations and manufacturers (showroom Finland: verso design, secto design, selki-asema, Formverk, Rintala interiors, adora textiles, the Artisans, Designers and Artists Cooperative of Fiskars, onoma art, and more), design schools and their stands (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Lahti Institute of Design, University of Lapland and University of Art and Design Helsinki), and the “container village”. The last was a conglomeration of cargo containers, each housing an exhibit-installation of Finnish or international designers, such as Jurgen Bay, Ola Kolehmainen, Bruno Borrione, Ludi Architects, Ilkka Suppanen, Jasper Morrison & Naoto Fukasawa, and the Diesel Creative team of Renzo Rosso.

My overall impression of ahead! is that once again one of the most favored themes of aspiring design exhibitions was the CHAIR. I find the theme unchallenging although it sells enormously. The Lahti Institute of Design had a conceptual aspiration to present an ambiance as a design
product. Lahti’s room though because of its product vacuum was attracting very little visitors; in other words it wasn’t selling well. In ahead! one could find interesting design pieces with a certain dignity in the use of material, the execution of the design and the purity of the design itself. One could find austere Finnish design furniture and objects, as well as more playful ones by the younger
generation of designers; however, a fair is a fair and all is a consumption trick. Paradoxically, it is when this trick is invested withdifferent layers of meaning that it sells best. I felt this with the
“container village.” All an all ahead! was not that innovative, but it transmitted the tranquil reassurance that things are not stale but rather promising (regarding aesthetics, creativity and economic viability).

Final note: Design for People vs. People for Design
Finland is not famous for its customer services (funny to say that to Greeks who are neither particularly polite). There are instances that justify this ill reputation as well as graceful exceptions. While admiring the exhibits of the furniture manufacturer Piiroinen, I tried the resized classic chair PK1. A metal part in the back rest was protruding and I hit slightly my upper back. The representative of the company came to talk to me. I explained my reserve about the chair. The tired young woman looked at me with her smiling face and told me with the most natural way: your body is wrong for the chair; we haven’t heard this complain by anyone else. She found hard to accept that maybe there was a small design issue to improve especially since the chair was enlarged 6% from the original design.
I am one of those believing that Design for All is a fad, although it does create awareness, especially amongst designers, about our discriminatory misconceptions. However, it is one think to hear that an object is not suitable for oneself and quite another to hear that oneself is not suitable for an inanimate object.

Michail Galanakis, UIAH Helsinki (

See also our great picture album from the fair:

HABITARE, Helsinki 2007


Technik Museum Sinsheim

This private museum near Stuttgart (and 2 hours from Frankfurt) is one of the most popular museums in Germany. The mayor difference to other similar museums is the absence of an complete and or an accurate description of technical history. It is worth to visit it, becaouse of the extremly rare objects. But you have to collect some informations before to enjoy them.

Almost all important cars of the 20th century are displayed in the museum, from luxury linousines like Duisenberg (USA), Mercedes and Maybach to mass motorisation of the 1950ies with great American dream cars and popular Europan supersmall size cars.

The highlights are the Bugattis, even an extremly rare Royale (only 7 were built) and of course the airplanes. Sinsheim is the only place where you can see and compare the Concorde and its Russian counterpart, the TU-144 and make your own oppinion if the design was stolen or not.

My personal favourites were the three JU-52 planes (one of them was temporarely restored in the museums court, after two decades on the roof of the museum) and an unrestored crashed and rusty Porsche 356 Speedster.

From a design aspect it is interesting to see the interiors of the planes, (even if they are incomplete, the interior of the Concorde was designed by André Putman).

See also our picture album from the museum:
Technik Museum Sinsheim

Founded: 1981
Objects: 3,000 objects on 50.000m²
(over 300 cars, 40 racing cars, 200 motorcycles, 27 locomotives, 60 airplanes)

Visitors: 1.000.000 p.a.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Design Week Helsinki 2007 #2

The Helsinki Design week is an annual event and is organized since 2005.

Kari Korkman is the soul behind of it all and calls himself I think a design producer is a very nice and approachable person. My only question about these events is that they are one off every year and take place all together in the end of summer beginning of autumn. In the dark winter months very little is happening (apart from the Forces of Light that have been shrinking every year). On the other hand, as Helsinki is a small capital and Finland in general has a strong tradition and appreciation of design, you can imagine that everything that is happening is showcasing in Helsinki.

By this I mean that there are a lot design shops, galleries, and design is more or less part of every day life for the middle class. It is interesting though that for instance Marimekko which is a legendary brand has a huge range of products to fulfill needs and desires of lower income earners too. As I say: there is no household without at least one Marimekko product. From my perspective Finnish designers are somehow trying to overcome the conventions of Finnish design and without losing their distinct identity to become more international. Multiculturalism in this small country is a big issue, as NOKIA expands and internationalization worries especially peoples of recent nations.
Michail Galanakis, UIAH Helsinki (

see also the post below

My Home - Seven experiments for new living

is an exhibition in the Vitra Design Museum about design of interior design today. I think it could be one of the most important events after many years, showing how developments could be. Watch this informative film!

Link to a article of WDR TV (in German) with a Link to a report on their WEBTV

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Design Week Helsinki 2007 #1: Design Partners

Tuesday 18th of September, there was the public opening of the exhibition of Design Partners 07, in the famous Cable Factory (multifunctional space old cable factory) in Helsinki. Link to the exhibition

The organizers promised, as in previous years, a point of communication and relaxed interaction. Big names of Finnish design and industry, and new talents co-exist and the effect is a design wonderland, with smaller and bigger surprises. All design fields are represented here; industrial, ceramic, interior, fashion and textile, furniture, and architecture. Panel talks, side exhibitions, like the one with the biggest names of French design, are all enriching an institution such as the design partners, part of Helsinki Design Week.
My favorites were the mobile lamp by Mikko Pakkanen, the silk cocoon and latex lamps, the concrete bench incorporating old fabrics and high technology. Interesting was the IKEA fashion collection where IKEA sponsored fashion and interior design creating an atmospheric living room.

Michail Galanakis, UIAH Helsinki (

See also our picture album from the exhibition:
Design Partners, Helsinki 2007
Helsinki Design Week is an event for designers and consumers
arraged for the third time (2005, 2006,2007).
It is combined with the "Habitare" furniture fair and the
"Architecture and Design Day"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Design for the Other 90%

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”
(Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises)

The exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum analyzes 30 humanitarian design projects. It is on view through September 23, 2007.

Link to the exhibition

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Modern Design Museum TV

The film maker Tsuyoshi Takashiro made a small movie called Modern Design Museum TV showing famous items of 2oth century design.

Link to Takashiro

Friday, August 3, 2007

Great design exhibitions of the past #1

Frankfurt, Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) 1988

The late 1980ies in industrial design were dominated by the "anything-goes" mentality. The DAM decided to anwer with an exhibition what could be criteria and impulses for future design developments. This exhibition organised by Prof. Volker Fischer showed from functionalism to postmodernism all design movements and companies of this time.

The catalogue is itself an important discourse and was edited many times. Design authors like Jochen Gros, Volker Fischer, Volker Albus and Matteo Thun write about themes like "miniaturisation and design" or "neo-barock influences in postmodernism".

Myself in 2000 I learned from this book to prepare my design studies.

List of past and new exhibitions

Do you know that the Book "The origin of things" came together with an exhibition with the same name in 2003 in Rotterdam? Or that bath and design was the theme of an exhibition in Hamburg?

Our "List of some design history relevant exhibitions" gives you an overview on important milestones of exhibitions and helps you searching concrete informations about themes of design history.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Innovation vs. Imitation," Plagiarius Museum opens in Solingen

Aktion Plagiarius was initiated in 1977 by Rido Busse giving negative awards to design imitators for their "unimaginative and shameless behaviour!"
Even if the presentation of prices was followed by many articles in the press, the collection was looking for a permanent home for a long time. On April 1st, the Plagiarius Museum in Solingen, Germany officially opened its doors to the public, unveiling a parade of 300 original products alongside their knock-off inferiors.

Similar, but with a focus more on brands is the Musée de la Contrefaçon in Paris

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"50 $ Design Museum"

As industrial goods many well designed items of the past are still available on the market.

A few years back, I.D. Magazine ran a great feature, asking various designers to put together "design museums" using only $50. Unfortunatly it isn't available online, but I found a (more graphic oriented) replika in the web.

Link to the webpost

Digital Department of Design Museum London

The Design Museum London is at this time the only design museum with both, an important physical and a virtual department. The user of the virtual profits from cogent texts and the additional department of digital design.

Actual there is an exhibition about chairs and about Apple Design

Link to the digital design museum

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eames in Gent

Today (17th June) it's exactly 100 years ago that Charles Eames was born in Missouri. One century later his work is an icon for industrial design. The exhibition at Gent Design Museum shows the complete range of their work including furniture, short films and the Eameses collection of ethnic items.

An other interesting exhibition currently at Gent Design Museum is "Kitsch, Camp or Design"

The short film Eames Lounge Chair Assembly (1956)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Neue Sammlung, a historic grown collection

The "Neue Sammlung" (New Collection) was founded as a state museum of Bavaria in 1925 and represented a departure from the historically artificial focus of traditional arts and crafts museums. It has existed as the department of arts and crafts, which was intended as an extension of the Bavarian National Museum until this very day, and has established a reputation far beyond the borders of Bavaria and indeed Germany. The word "new" in the title was a reference to what the museum stood for, and has been of relevance ever since.

During the Third Reich parts of the collection were sold or gifted. After World War II the collection growed again especially with donations of big companies like Siemens or Olivetti. Even if the Neue Sammlung was a leading collection it had no museum to display its permanent collection. The communication was by special exhibitions and books. The books edited by Hans Wichmann are today an important reference and often the only source were some design objects are explained.

The turnover came with the opening of the museum in Nuremberg (1999), the resonace of visitors and media was great. After this success the Bavarian government gave the money for a second museum in Munich (2002), a third specialised in ceramics opened in Weiden.

Thessaloniki Design Museum, still a homeless museum

The Thessaloniki Design Museum is the personal work of Stergios Delialis, a Greek industrial designer. In its over 10 years, the museum, in cooperation with Greek and international educational and cultural organisations and museums, has organised more than 80 exhibitions along with lectures, seminars and educational programmes (eg. "American Mid-Century Design and "Helvetica" about functional objects in 2007).

A homeless museum
Until 1997 it was housed in ground floor premises on Mitropoleos Street. Today it is searching for a permanent home. Even so it remains active with exhibitions abroad, film shows and lectures.

The problem of homeless museums is well known: A+D in Los Angeles lost its home, the Neue Sammlung in Munich had until 2003 no permanent exhibition (even it it was the greatest design collection in the world). It is hard to understand why politicians do not support design museums. It seems to be easier to finance a traditional or archaelogic museum, even if design museums are more successfull.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"A + D opens final show before being evicted!"

Architecture+Design Museum in Los Angeles lost it's home. I found a webpost about actual developments on the Architecture+Design Museum in Los Angeles

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Corporate Design Museums: Vitra Design Museum

Making a tour to Basle in Switzerland you will have at least one argument going some kilometres back to Germany.
Vitra is not the only company with structures designed by star architects or with an own design museum. But at no other company industrial design and architecture are completly integrated into company's identity.

It is more the owner's passion for design than an PR attitude and you will feel it. Today the Vitra Design Museum owns the bequest of famous designers like Eames, Panton, Prouve and Girard and is internationally active as a cultural institution making research and exhibitions about design history and contemporary design as well.

Architecture: building by Frank O. Gehry, 1987
(extension:former fire station, architect:Zaha Hadid, 1993)
Objects: 3000 Objects

Chair Collection
Buildings of Vitra itself

Friday, June 22, 2007

Visiting MAK Frankfurt

The MAK Frankfurt (Museum für angewandte Kunst) is located on the Museumsufer (Museum pier) on the river Main. The first impression is the clear white and geometric architecture of this building ( an early work of Richard Meier) in an old park. The museum was until the late 1990s called Museum für Kunsthandwerk (M. for decorative Arts) and has a large collection of European, Oriental and Asian antiques eg. furniture, carpets, vases. The turn to a design museum is holding on, and next to industrial design, interface design is displayed.

Nobody will visit this design museum only to see the Panton chairs, old Apple computers or Alessi products. The argument to see the design collection is the smart selection made by the well know design author Prof.Dr. Volker Fischer. An other argument is that the visitor can easily compare with pre-industrial design products in the other rooms.

Last renovation: 1985
(new building by star-architect Richard Meier)
Objects: 30.000 Objects (design and art decoratif)

Bel-Air Lounge Chair (1981, Memphis-Group Milano)
Têtê-à-têtê Chair (1983, Colorcore Formica, NY)
Chippendale Chair (1984, Knoll itl.)

CNC-Lab Furniture (1995, HfG Offenbach)
Media exhibits

Visiting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

During a trip though the Netherlands in 2003 I visited this museum. Some months before it was renovated. Unfortunatly it has too many highlights in other departments like the famous Pieter Brueghel's tower of babel, so industrial design is secondary for visitors. The curators try to mix the exhibits to solve this, and the confrontation is well done. Design and art on the same wall seems to be the best concept to explain and display the difference between art and design.

To place different chairs in the cafeteria is a good idea toward a closer participation of visitors.