Art in Germany: These 4 design museums inspire – also outside

Ddesign determines our everyday life, and yet it often takes a back seat. This is not the case in the museums, which are explicitly dedicated to the beautiful forms of industrial, graphic and product design and modern applied art. In addition, the love of aesthetics is often already evident in the architecture of the museums. We present four very special houses in Germany.

Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein

One of the greatest architects of our time is undoubtedly Frank O. Gehry, key words being the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In Weil am Rhein, opposite Basel in Switzerland, the building icon with a penchant for deconstructivism and undulating shapes also made it through, albeit on a smaller scale.

His part-curved, part-angular building of white plaster and titanium-zinc alloy was originally opened in 1989 as a showroom for the furniture of the design brand Vitra, which has its manufacturing facilities next door. However, it was quickly decided to make a museum out of the spectacular building and also to offer other design objects and artists a stage – in the form of several temporary exhibitions each year.

And that’s not all, the Vitra Campus got a prominent addition: Zaha Hadid redesigned the fire station, Piet Oudolf created a wilderness garden, and the team of architects Herzog & de Meuron created first the embedded Vitra house, including a flagship store, and then, in 2016, the Schaudepotten with one of the world’s largest permanent exhibitions on the subject of modern furniture design.

The team of architects Herzog & de Meuron designed the embedded Vitra house including the flagship store

Source: Universal Images Group via Getty Images/View Images

About 400 key objects from 1800 to the present day are on display (the collection includes a total of 20,000 objects), including early bentwood furniture and icons from classic modernism by Le Corbusier or Gerrit Rietveld, but also the latest designs from the 3D printer.


The Bauhaus Museum in Weimar

Germany is an exporting country. Many consider the Bauhaus state, founded by Walter Gropius, to be the most successful cultural export. It is considered the most important school of design, architecture and art in Germany in the 20th century. Although the high phase is linked to the city of Dessau-Roßlau, Weimar still plays an important role as the place where the company was founded.

The Bauhaus Museum Weimar was opened to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus

The Bauhaus Museum Weimar was opened to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus

Source: pa/imageBROKER/Karl F. Schöfmann

In continuation of the 100th anniversary, a new museum was opened in 2019 (next to Dessau and Berlin). As a place for open meetings and discussions, it is reminiscent of the early Bauhaus phase. The “Discussionsgrundlaget” is the oldest collection of workshop works, which is located behind the monumental concrete facade of a building block, and which Walter Gropius put together in 1925, and gives a comprehensive insight into the development of art and art schools in Weimar from 1900 to 1930.

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Paintings, graphics, design, product design, photos and historical documents form a cross-section of the extensive Bauhaus program. The furniture of Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is as popular as the works of Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy and Lyonel Feininger.


Marta Herford in East Westphalia

Yes, modern art can also be found beyond the major cultural strongholds! Herford in East Westphalia, which has around 65,000 inhabitants and was long known as a place for the furniture and clothing industry, provides impressive evidence with MARTa, which opened in 2005 and was named “Museum of the Year” in 2014.

American star architect Frank O. Gehry also designed the MARTa museum in Herford

American star architect Frank O. Gehry also designed the MARTa museum in Herford

Source: pa/dpa/Franz-Peter Tschauner

His focus on contemporary art with a particular focus on design and architecture is felt not only in the name – a combination of the words furniture (M), art (ART) and atmosphere (a) – but above all in the structural design. With its floating and tilted walls, the winding building complex is one of the most unusual museum buildings in the world, designed by none other than Frank O. Gehry.

The American star architect chose dark red bricks for the windowless facade facing the street, which contrasts with the bright stainless steel roof and the building’s whitewashed core. In addition to the galleries, where you can see changing, always first-class exhibitions, the building complex also contains the bright “Kupferbar” with an outdoor terrace overlooking Aa Å, the museum shop and a lively event forum.


Red Dot Design Museum in Essen

Cutlery, furniture, lighting, consumer electronics, kitchen appliances and much more: In the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen you can see numerous items that you could easily imagine in a department store. Or in your own home. However, the approximately 2,000 exhibits on display are not from a shopping trip or from an apartment sale.

North Rhine-Westphalia: The Red Dot Design Museum is located in the former boiler house of the UNESCO World Heritage Zeche Zollverein, which was rebuilt by Sir Norman Foster in 1997

The Red Dot Design Museum is located in the former boiler house of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Zeche Zollverein, which was rebuilt by Sir Norman Foster in 1997

Source: pa/dpa/Christophe Gateau

Only products that have received one of the “Red Dot Design Awards”, awarded annually by a jury, find their way to the museum, which is housed in the former boiler house under the UNESCO World Heritage List Zeche Zollverein, which was rebuilt in 1997 by a architectural icon. Sir Norman Foster. The award winners are first shown in a special exhibition for a month, before being transferred to the general inventory of the museum, which with 4,000 square meters of exhibition space is the largest of its kind in the world.

This was achieved, for example, by the “Spacewalker” lights from the manufacturer Dark NV from 2009, a 7-meter-long sculpture made of sheets of paper based on a design by Yao Yingjia, chief designer at the PC manufacturer Lenovo, a Fiat 500 and body entirely in aluminum on an Audi A8, the impressive hanging from the ceiling.


Agreement between the federal and state governments to fund the €49 ticket

The federal and state governments have agreed a successor to the nine-euro ticket for local transport. The nationally valid “Deutschlandticket” should cost 49 euros and be introduced “as soon as possible”, Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said after the federal state consultations.

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