Here are the top 25 global design museums that you must add to your bucket list!
Design is pretty vast, and you can get inspiration by any other means or ways. From scrolling down the Tweet update to going through Instagram feeds. But nothing quite like visiting the actual physical museum. Museums are not always about old objects. Some of these design museums will spark your inspiration with varying displays, themes, contexts, and pieces.
Design Museums that You Should Add to Your Bucket List
1. Amos Rex, Finland
Source: Divisare, Photo by RYTKY | https://divisare.com/projects/399841-jkmm-architects-tuomas-uusheimo-mika-huisman-hannu-rytky-angel-gil-amos-rex
The first thing you notice when visiting this place is the unique-looking structure. The art exhibition was built as an underground gallery that hosted tons and tons of art from famous artists. Named after Amos Anderson, who was an all-around friend of science and culture, the museum is one of the must-visit destinations for every aspiring designer.
Most of the collection goes for 20th-century art. However, the old design museum also hosted several exhibitions with different themes and collections. It even has the classic works of the famous Rene Magritte, the Belgian painter, the Nordic art, to the Egypt of glory exhibition. It currently covers 7,000 artworks, such as sculptures, painting, photography, etc.
2. Australian Museum, Australia
Source: Teo Exhibitions | https://www.teo-exhibitions.com/touring-community/profile/australian-museum/
Located in Sydney, the Australian Museum is the oldest standing gallery in this koala country. The museum itself was established in 1821, but then founding was done in 1827. The museum is also known for a massive collection of historical items, arts, and signature collections. Upon reopening in 2020, the museum also bore a major upgrade.
It is mainly the refurbishment and the increase of physical space. However, the location still holds the old architecture design. One of the greatest collections is the Indonesian Batik Tulis. As a neighboring country, the ancient Indonesian textile printing method turned as a way to attract tourists. With a large number of collections, the design museum offers detailing and pattern design lessons.
3. Bauhaus Archive Museum Of Design, Germany
Source: Dezeen, Photo by Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin/Karsten Hintz | https://www.dezeen.com/2018/11/21/bauhaus-archiv-berlin-walter-gropius/
Located in the home country of the Bauhaus School and Movement, this museum is exactly situated in Germany. As one of the famous destinations for artists and designers, the historic place hosts an abundance of art pieces that illustrate the timeline of Bauhaus History. The design museum is how it spouts that art alone is not able to be taught.
But instead sought hard through many mediums, such as handicraft, architecture, and industrial design. There are also a lot of exhibitions inside the museum, from the women of Bauhaus to the modern-day object. Approximately, the collection ranges from the s60's to the current generation
4. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, USA
Source: The Clio | https://www.theclio.com/tour/38/18
Moving on to the USA, the current museum is also labeled as the graphic design- now in production. The museum itself focuses on an exhibit that showcases some of the best graphic designs in the current contemporary era. During this time, there are a lot of artists that work harder to compete with each other, making the stakes higher and resulting in magnificent arts.
The museum runs as a non-collecting institution. It was founded around 1948 and has always been the house of presenting the best regional, national, and international arts. One of the interesting aspects of the museum is the architectural touch. The design museum occupies a recognizable building made of stainless steel.
The location was also designed and founded by the contemporary art museum. It even secured an award from Gunnar Birkerts and started to open in 1972. Even though known as a contemporary museum, it also offers long ranges and a diverse selection of books and exhibition catalogs. It also has some games, educational toys, and many more for children.
5. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, NY
Source: Wikipedia, Photo by Cooper Hewit | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cooper_Hewitt_(48059131921).jpg
When talking about museums, the Smithsonian at NYCs should be part of your art venture. The museum is located in New York City, right at the landmark Carnegie mansion. As one of the biggest museums, the location has an extensive collection of design objects. Whether it is historical or contemporary, you can witness all of the creative creations from all time.
What makes the museum worth looking at is the temporary show exhibit. The exhibit will always be updated and shows the best of current-day design. It means you got the chance to see a variety of creative disciplines showing off their ability. But one thing for sure, the design museum emphasizes one focus for its theme.
The focus is on innovative themes. This is one of the projects, in which demanding a cross-collaboration between scientist and designer. It also shows craft techniques and interactive homeware that has already implemented new technologies. That is why the museum is the best place to get the latest going on in the design world.
6. Color Factory, New York
Source: A Cup of Jo, Photo by Stella Blackmon | https://cupofjo.com/2018/08/color-factory-nyc/
Still, in New York, you can also visit the contemporary gallery that offers an interactive art experience. Namely, the color factory in NYC's Soho neighborhood. The design museum was started as a joint effort by the locals. Artists, illustrators, designers, nonprofits, and a collection of designers, to the food vendors. With that diversity, the name of the color factory surfaced.
The uses of color highly portray the city and its many colors. What's more, is that the design museum has 16 installations which offer a multi-sensory experience. It helps make a colorful world and a perfectly curated experience. This place is a definition of you should come and get the real experience since the beautiful selfie of Instagram will not be enough.
7. Dongdaemun Design Plaza, South Korea
Source: Archdaily, Photo by Virgile Simon Bertrand | https://www.archdaily.com/489604/dongdaemun-design-plaza-zaha-hadid-architects
Moving on to Korea, the Dongdaemun design plaza is one of a kind place to visit. The plaza was designed by the late Zaha Hadid, who is the first woman architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. You can witness her mesmerizing installation that appears as an impressive complex largest 3D amorphous structure in the world.
Just like any other artist and design museum, the artist said that the art piece was inspired by the surrounding situation of Dongdaemun. It covers all of the bustling and dynamic life of the region of Seoul. With all of that in mind, the art piece appears as a boundary-less and fluid design. It can turn into a big inspiration for you.
The DDP itself is not a mere museum. The location has very complex exhibition spaces that consist of eco-friendly parks and shops. All of it is to represent the bustling life of Dongdaemun. What's more, the location is the perfect location for many conferences, events, cultural events, and fashion shows.
8. Design Museum Holon, Israel
Source: Archdaily, Photo by Raal | https://www.archdaily.com/87173/design-museum-holon-ron-arad-architects
The cutting-edge design architecture will be the first thing that stole your attention. The building has rust-colored strips that stand tall to the sky. The unique structural identity also makes the museum stand out against it surrounding. It is all due to the innovative design by the architect, Ron Arad.
Inside, the museum appears different from the exterior. The interior looks clean and simple, which is a perfect place to host a variety of exhibitions. The exhibition itself can range from every graphic design disciple to the retrospective industrial design. The design museum can also hold themed shows along with the library of materials in it.
9. The Design Museum, UK
Source: Retail Design Blog, Photo by Gareth Gardner | https://retaildesignblog.net/2016/11/18/design-museum-by-john-pawson-london-uk/
The current location of the museum is the new home for the museum. It was a 1960 landmark that has a large area for exhibitions and activities. The location focuses on design education that offers educational courses through the exhibition. It shows nostalgic and historical objects that also cover a range of design disciplines, such as the Stanley Kubrick exhibition.
10. Fondazione Prada, Italy
Source: Metalocus, Photo by Bas Princen | https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/opening-torre-omas-fondazione-prada-complex-completed
Fondazione is located in three locations, Prada, Venice, and Milan. The museum mostly covers the contemporary art and culture collection. The design museum is the house of many art pieces made by famous artists, such as Jeff Koons or Dan Flavin. The new addition is OMA architecture that is a 60 Meter concrete tower that turns out as a Milan complex along with six other buildings.
11. Ghibli Museum, Japan
Source: Kanpai Japan | https://www.kanpai-japan.com/tokyo/ghibli-museum
Providing different charms, the museum in Tokyo offers a lot of Miyazaki Hayao's Studio Ghibli gallery. The famous animation film studio is one of the inspirations behind a lot of artists, especially those who are working for animation disciple. The colorful fairy tail like museum house number of surprises with some of the animation characters' statue spread across the area.
12. IK Lab, Mexico
Source: Dezeen | https://www.dezeen.com/2018/05/02/ik-lab-santiago-rumney-guggenheim-jorge-eduardo-neira-sterkel-art-gallery-azulik-tulum-mexico/
Even though it appears as a standard design museum, the IK lab in Tulum always provides harmonies, color, and flowing shapes. The design itself creates a new impression of a beautifully crafted area. The museum also holds the eco-friendly ethos that predominantly appears in the building and the locally sourced tree branches.
The area and the unique structure provide an interesting setting for the art on show. The uses of natural light and the natural touch make it appear godly. One of the reasons is due to the ability to incorporate and interacting with space. It makes the exhibition seamlessly merge and bring a natural contrast to the natural environment.
13. Museum Of Arts And Design (MAD), NY
Source: MAD Museum | https://madmuseum.org/visit
The Manhattan museum mostly focuses on contemporary creative practice disciplines. What makes the museum stand out is how it always emphasizes the actual creation process of the art pieces. Whether it is artisanal, digital, or anything in between, visitors are led to learn and get some education. It has varied exhibitions from fashion, art, design, and many more.
14. Moco Museum, Holland
Source: Moco Museum | https://mocomuseum.com/museum-amsterdam/
The Moco museum will be the trendy boutique modern contemporary design museum to visit. What makes it different is the focus on street art. Some subversive art that is filled with humor and irony are those that comment on today's society. The witty remarks and the clear imagery create highly engaging experiences.
The contemporary design appears somewhat contrasting with the building itself. It has a traditional Dutch townhouse design, made by Eduard Cuypers in 1904. The contrast of the past and the modern uptake make the Moco museum worth visiting. Even more, it used to house exhibitions for Daniel Arsham, Yayoi Kusama, and the famous Banksy.
15. Museum Of Broken Relationship, Los Angeles
Source: News Artnet, Photo by Randy Shropshire | https://news.artnet.com/art-world/museum-of-broken-relationships-car-crash-659156
The place has become a growing gallery of mementos of past relationships. The permanent museum located in Los Angeles and Zagreb, and the other locations, underline the importance of acknowledging, share, and treasure stories of heartbreak. The collection in this design museum can cover obscure personal possession, from puppets to dreadlocks.
16. Mori Building Digital Art Museum, Japan
Source: TeamLab Borderless | https://borderless.teamlab.art/
Under the art Collective teamLab management, the museum offers creative interactive digital works to look at. The building itself spans over 10,000 sqm and features 60 amazing works that interactively respond to and intertwine with one another. As you approach the area, some interesting displays will appear and create many more breathtaking delights.
17. Museum Of Decorative Arts, Czech Republic
Source: Prague.eu | https://www.prague.eu/en/object/places/627/museum-of-decorative-arts-in-prague-umeleckoprumyslove-museum
The visual crafts of Decorative arts get a lot of attention in this design museum. The museum even deemed that the design discipline offers significant cultural forces and also acts as an essential artifact. The ranges of the collection include typography and posters from the local area and around the world, which help people to explore the meaning behind the everyday design.
18. Moomin Museum, Finland
Source: Moomin Museum | https://www.moomin.com/en/blog/worlds-moomin-museum-now-officially-open-finland
If you ever heard about Moomin books for art and design, then you have to visit this museum. Located in Tampere, Finish, the museum collects more than 1,000 original arts by Tove Jansson. Most of the arts depict the character and scenery of the 12 Moomin books, such as The Hobbit and Alice's adventure in wonderland exhibition in this design museum.
19. National Gallery Of Indonesia, Indonesia
Source: Wikipedia, Photo by Uwe Aranas | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_Indonesia
Indonesia is filled with vast and varying cultures. And some of them are portrayed in fine art, traditional painting, and contemporary design. Visiting the national gallery of Indonesia will be a new door to take a look at Indonesian artistry. With the focus on empowering the creativity and features of artwork, you can find some arts that do not exist in the western canon.
20. Red Dot Design Museum, Singapore
Source: Red Dot | https://www.red-dot.org/design-concept/red-dot-design-museum-singapore
The Singaporean Red dot is one of the other Red Dot museums located in Germany and China. Here, you got the chance to witness hundreds of futuristic designs from the Red dot award. It is the perfect destination to find out innovative ideas for industrial design surrounded by technologies, fresh thinking, and new material.
21. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Holland
Source: MSA Press | https://msa.press.jhu.edu/conferences/msa19/events/Stedelijk.html
The old 1874 museum now takes visitors to explore contemporary and modern visual art. The design museum has a vast collection of over 1880 art pieces that also depict the history of visual culture—some of the iconic art from famous artists such as Piet Mondrian or Roy Lichtenstein. For more, the museum also joins some movement for cross-over between creative disciplines.
22. Triennale Di Milano, Italy
Source: Timeout, Photo by Pasquale Formisano | https://www.timeout.com/milan/things-to-do/triennale-di-milano
Within the heart of the fashion capital, Italy, The Trenalle di Milano has one of the most influential roles. The museum that was founded in 1923 has been a constant participant and host of numerous exhibits. You can list them, from the graphic, decorative, industrial arts, to fashion. Later on, the museum turned into a mirror to the artistic culture design in Italy.
23. Vitra Design Museum, Germany
Source: Wikipedia, Photo by Wladyslaw | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitra_Design_Museum
Upon a glance, you will find that the exterior of the Vitra museum is one of the best in the world. Designed by Frank Gehry, the impressive exterior design creates a definite identity for the museum. The initial purpose of the museum was to display a private art collection, but later on, used as a location to hold art exhibitions.
The exhibition is also ranging, and some of them are from famous artists. It includes some biggest names, such as Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, etc. But one thing that makes this gallery different is the focus. Vitra's original mission is to dedicate the area for furniture design exhibition and display along with the lighting pieces. The collection reaches up to 20,000 objects.
24. V&A Dundee, UK
Source: The Guardian, Photo by Ross Fraser Mclean | https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/sep/12/va-dundee-review-waterfront
V&A or the Victoria and Albert design museum is a house of 2.3 million historical objects. The outstanding collection, the spectacular structure by Kengo Kuma, and the ranges of the exhibition were the reasons to visit. The appearance of the museum resembles a Scottish cliff face, but it has curved walls and a cutting edge design. You can also find a dedicated exhibition for it.
25. Wellcome Collection, UK
Source: Archdaily, Photo by Craig Sheppard | https://www.archdaily.com/642210/wellcome-collection-london-transformation-wilkinson-eyre-architects/557e2b75e58eced6280002f9-wellcome-collection-london-transformation-wilkinson-eyre-architects-photo
If you are looking for a unique gallery and get inspiration from it, the Wellcome collection will prove it to you. The exhibition brings a lot of different fields, including design and science, art, and medicine. This design museum also shows numerous innovative ideas such as prints, objects, combine installation, and many more. It makes the place one of the innovative showcases.
Offering different types of design, each of the exhibits has its charm and touch. Visiting them can be a great way to get away from routine and seek a "real" inspiration. At the same time, the physical design can contain very diverse touches than those online or digital. Thus, make sure you visit them to witness the authentic creativity that is worth admiring.