since 20 October 2012
Design Collection and Spiegel Canteen

The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) is now mounting a large-scale design exhibition with some 600 objects on more than 1,000 square metres. The design collection has been continually expanded over the past years by means of targeted purchases, and is kept up to date through the on-going acquisition of examples of contemporary design. The newly installed design exhibition will be enhanced by two unique period rooms: from the ensemble of the famous Spiegel canteen created by Verner Panton in 1969 for the Spiegel publishing group, the orange dining room and the snack bar will be accessible to the public for the first time starting this month. Moreover as a tribute to Dieter Rams, the MKG is reconstructing the legendary designer’s former office at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK). Rams decorated his workroom with the low system furniture from the stackable series Stapelprogramm 740 he had developed for the Vitsoe company. Against the background of the current debate, according to what criteria design should be presented in a museum, the MKG in cooperation with the HFBK is embarking on a new presentation path. In collaboration with Jesko Fezer, professor of Experimental Design at the HFBK, five “thought spaces” are being created to communicate the meaning of design and its impact on social processes: Archive, Innovation, Resources, Subversion and Communication. The Archive connects all these sections. With this display collection, the MKG is opening part of its depot to the public and presenting altogether more than five hundred pieces of arts, crafts and design dating from 1945 to the present. These will include objects of everyday culture from the ashtray to the coffee machine and the toothbrush, from glass and ceramic ware to jewellery and furniture, from anonymous mass products to the “name design (auteur design)” by designers from A for Otl Aicher to Z for Marco Zanuso. The museum is thus returning to the original raison d’être of the arts and crafts museum: to serve as a storehouse of knowledge and demonstrate the possibilities of handicrafts and industrial design to the visitor in encyclopaedic variety. The Archive accordingly provides an idea pool on fundamental aspects of design such as material, technique, form and production methods.

The new staging of the Design Collection is made possible with the funds from the Special Exhibition Programm of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’s Department of Culture. The MKG also succeeded in winning a room sponsor and is grateful to the Hubertus Wald Stiftung for its generous support. The installation of the Spiegel Canteen is being realized through the generous support of the Spiegel publishing company and with funds from the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’s Department of Culture.

Abb.: Verner Panton, Spiegel-Kantine, Snackbar, 1969, Foto: Michael Bernhardi/Spiegel-Verlag, 2011