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Previously denied the reverence associated with fine art, cultural curators are realizing the immense importance of design in our lives, as an integral part of the world’s creative history and future. The cultural capitals of London, New York, Israel, Hong Kong and Barcelona are leading the way.
The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, part of the V&A Museum in London, provides access to the impressive collection of historical textiles and fashion housed in the Museum. For those interested in fashion, it is an invaluable research tool. By booking an appointment, visitors are able to view and study historical garments first-hand, which would otherwise be on display behind glass cases or kept in storage. As well as providing a platform for the public to view and appreciate the history of fashion design, The Clothworkers’ Centre is equally dedicated to conserving this collection for the future, ensuring that this resource remains available for years to come.
One of the oldest museums dedicated to design, The Smithsonian Museum in New York was founded in 1897, with the Cooper Hewitt incorporated as a branch of the Smithsonian in 1967. This historic museum looks at both the history of design and its contemporary practices. Through a strong focus on educational programs and curated exhibitions, Cooper Hewitt highlights the ways in which design is part of our everyday lives. With an extensive library and collection spanning more than 30 centuries of design, Cooper Hewitt is uniquely able to show the progression of design throughout human history. Cooper Hewitt is just as dedicated to the future of design as it is to archiving its past. The Museum sponsors the annual National Design Awards in the US, which recognizes innovation in American design. Cooper Hewitt is also behind National Design Week, a week of programs, exhibitions and events on design.
Designed by world-renowned architect Ron Arad, the Design Museum Holon in Israel features events and educational programs for designers, students and the public. As one of the newer design museums, its collection is contemporary and cutting-edge. It boasts an extensive collection of contemporary design objects, which regularly increases. Design Museum Holon aims to showcase the trends in design and the relationship between technology and design innovations, as well as broadening the concept of what constitutes design. The museum is currently collecting what will become a valuable archive of 21st century design.
Design Museum Holon, Pinhas Eilon Street, 8 Holon, ISR. +972 73 215 1525
A future feature of West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, the M+ building will be completed by 2018. It will feature art, design, architecture, and video art from the 20th and 21st centuries, focusing predominantly on Hong Kong, China and Asia. Blurring the boundaries between art and design, M+ aims to become a cultural center, mapping the trajectory of visual culture – past and future. In a time where there is increasing creative crossover between disciplines, M+ ensures it will remain relevant and contemporary with its unique interdisciplinary approach. Despite the building being currently under construction, M+ has already hosted talks and exhibitions through Mobile M+, engaging the public in dialogue around the importance of design. Aric Chen, appointed as the curator of design and architecture at M+, said he aims to place Asia at the center of design, rather than on the periphery as it has been historically viewed by Western culture.
Opening its doors in December 2014, The Museu del Disseny’s tagline is “from the decorative arts to design.” It combines Barcelona’s collections of decorative arts, ceramics, textiles, clothing and graphic art with the aim of exploring how everyday objects impact our lives. Featuring an event hall and auditorium, the Design Museum will educate people on the beauty of designs that we often take for granted. It will also become part of Barcelona’s Design Hub, the future site of Barcelona’s top design institutions. The building itself will undoubtedly become an iconic design feature of the country’s landscape. Designed by MBM Architects, the Museu del Disseny is not merely an aesthetic tribute to design, but echoes the increasing importance of environmental concerns in today’s design world. It is designed as a self-sufficient energy system, meeting top standards for sustainability. The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona is set to become a landmark of design, illustrating its global appeal, functionality and innovation.