MUSEUMS FOR DESIGN LOVERS IN VIENNA

As a designer, you look at the world differently. You constantly decompose the environment in your head in order to put the parts back together on a sketch, and later on a real-life design. The environment and its “things” are an ever-present source of inspiration for you. It happens at your work (of course) but also when you brush your teeth, when you go out and of course when you travel. During trips, because of the novelty of the environment, you are usually event mooore alert to the “things” around you. You start noticing nuances between how things are made where you are and where you are currently traveling. You notice the different pictograms of the street signs, the shop window esthetic or the patterns of the building surfaces. You could spend hours in a paper shop, am I right? So if you are wondering what museums to visit in the city of Vienna that would cater to your designer needs, then here are a couple of suggestions from me.

 

The Museum for applied arts and the University of Applied Arts

I venture to recommend these institutions together because they are located one next to each other. The museum of Applied Arts ( MAK) has some permanent collections around the styles Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo, Art Nouveau, Biedermayer as well as Vienna in the 1900s. They have a vast collection of objects from these periods as well as temporary exhibitions on trendy design topics. It really is the “obvious” choice of Museums for designers. Because the University of Applied Arts has been recently renovated, it is definitely worth seeing. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture and design. It’s a public building and therefore open to the public. Walk around! If you are lucky to be there at the end of the semester, you will see some magnificent diploma exhibitions. The amount of imagination and dedication these kids have is astounding.

 

The Imperial Furniture Collection

If you are into industrial and interior design, then the collection of furniture of Hofmobiliendepot is for you. Originally, a storage facility for the imperial furniture of the Habsburg Family, the Imperial Furniture Collection (Hofmobiliendepot) houses over 165.000 pieces of furniture showcasing the Baroque, Biedermayer, Historicism, the Modern Vienna and the Contemporary styles of design. They also have an interesting array of temporary exhibitions focusing on furniture of the 20th century.

 

Clock Museum

Located in the city center, the Clock Museum houses over 700 clocks. Pendulum wall clocks, table clocks, richly ornate clocks, picture clocks, astronomical clocks, jewelry clocks and even the original clock of Stephansdom weighing nearly a tonne are housed in this rather small museum. If you are interested in the merger of design and mechanical ingenuity, then the Clock Museum is for you.

 

The Technical Museum

And speaking of mechanical ingenuity, another tip is the Technical Museum. I believe the Technical Museum is a diamond in the rough. It is perhaps not so well advertised, and not very central, but a mind-blowing adventure once you are inside. Your ever-present burning  question about “how things are made” is thoroughly answered by the Technical Museum with exhibitions about objects of everyday life, work, nature, mobility, musical instruments and so much more. It has a large array of interactive exhibitions and it’s really great fun to walk around. Do check it out.

 

Museums Quarter Courtyard

Located between the 7thand the 1st district of Vienna, the Museums Quarter is a conglomerate of museums, galleries, art spaces, performance spaces, and cafes all joined together around a courtyard: a place of art, music, movies and interaction in general.  Especially in summer, it’s “the place to be” for designers and it offers a large array of exhibitions and spectacles to soothe the artistically inclined. Once you are there, do check the Designforum Wien for special exhibitions on design and the Bookshop “Walter König” for a large array of books on any design known to man. Also, don’t miss the black and white photo booth by the entrance. It makes really cool photos!