The Museum für Gestaltung Zurich is Switzerland’s leading museum for design and visual communication.
The museum boasts a vast array of graphic and design objects within its collection, spanning two distinct locations in Zurich. The museum is also part of the Zurich University of the Arts.
Overview: Museum für Gestaltung Zurich
The Museum für Gestaltung Zurich is a design museum that exhibits a wide variety of objects related to fashion, furniture, graphic design, and typography. In this museum, visitors are invited to explore designs in all forms, but the majority of the artifacts are from the modern era. Additionally, the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year at both of its locations.
At the museum, you can delve into the following topics:
- Product Design
- Decorative Arts
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich is one of the most important art museums in Switzerland, especially in the Zurich region. It is naturally focused on design and visual communication, rather than paintings and sculptures. In most cases, the objects on display were designed to serve a specific purpose.
History of Museum Für Gestaltung Zurich
Museum für Gestaltung Zurich emerged from the Arts and Crafts Museum of Zurich back in 1875. The first location opened its doors in 1933 in Ausstellungsstrasse near Zurich’s Train Station. After undergoing renovations, this building was revitalized and reopened in March 2018.
The museum is also part of the Zurich University of the Arts. It was established also to showcase the work of the school’s students and faculty, as well as to collect and exhibit objects of applied art and design. The museum quickly gained a reputation in Switzerland as a leading institution in the field of applied arts and design.
Museum für Gestaltung Zurich opened a second location in 2014 on the ground floor of Toni-Areal in Zurich West. In addition to the two locations, Museum für Gestaltung Zurich also operates Pavilion Le Corbusier.
Today, the museum’s collection includes over 500,000 objects, ranging from product design and fashion to graphic design and furniture. Over the years, the Museum Für Gestaltung Zurich has hosted numerous exhibitions, showcasing the work of successful designers or discussing certain themes.
How to Get to Museum für Gestaltung Zurich
The Museum für Gestaltung Zurich has two locations: one in Ausstellungsstrasse and one in Toni Areal.
The Ausstellungstrasse location of the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich is situated in the city center, near Zurich Train Station.
|Tram||Zurich, Museum für Gestaltung (Tram 4, 13, 17)|
The second site of the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich is Toni Areal, located in the west of Zurich. It is a modern structure previously used for milk production and is now a university campus for the Zurich University of the Arts and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.
|Tram||Zurich, Toni-Areal (Trams 4)|
Museum Für Gestaltung Zurich: What to Expect
There is a vast collection of design objects, graphic design, and applied arts at the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich that illustrates the evolution of design and aesthetics throughout history. My visit to the museum gave me a chance to see how the permanent collection was arranged. Temporary exhibits will change over time, but I can describe them as well.
Collection Highlights (Ausstellungsstrasse)
After the shop at the entrance in Ausstellungstrasse, you can access the staircase that leads to the permanent exhibition called Collection Highlights on the lowest level.
This collection comprises a diverse range of design objects that reflect the creativity and ingenuity of their respective eras. From elegantly crafted vases and intricately designed watches to beautifully adorned bowls and captivating images, the exhibits offer a comprehensive exploration of the world of design.
Additionally, you’ll find a remarkable display of clothing that showcases the evolution of fashion and its connection to design.
Discover more information about the collection on eguide.ch. Uncover intriguing details, historical context, and captivating stories behind the exhibits in German, French, and English.
Posters from the Collection (Ausstellungsstrasse)
When you make your way to Atelier 2, prepare to be surrounded by an impressive wall of posters from their collection.
As you step into the long corridor, you’ll be greeted by neatly stacked rows and columns of posters on both sides of the wall. These posters, meticulously organized, form a striking display of design concepts and artistic expression.
The museum showcases a diverse array of posters, highlighting events, places, or exhibits curated and organized by the museum itself.
Temporary Exhibit (Ausstellungsstrasse)
The ground floor of the museum offers an expansive space that serves as the stage for the current temporary exhibit.
During my visit, the exhibition highlighted the illustrious journey of the renowned St. Gallen fashion house, Akris. Through careful curation of various fashion collections spanning numerous years, visitors were provided with a glimpse into the evolution of Akris’ signature style and aesthetic.
Accompanying this visual feast were captivating videos that showcased fashion shows, where models gracefully walked the runway, bringing the designs to life.
Temporary Exhibit (Toni-Areal)
In the vibrant atmosphere of the modern Toni-Areal building, the museum also features captivating temporary exhibits that offer a diverse range of experiences. During my visit, the exhibit focused on game design, providing an immersive and interactive journey into the world of gaming.
The exhibit showcased a multitude of video games, each offering unique gameplay and captivating storytelling. Additionally, there were interactive games that engaged visitors through the use of light, as well as three-dimensional games that required physical movement to play.
The combination of technology, creativity, and interactivity made the experience truly fascinating, appealing to both gaming enthusiasts and those curious about the art of game design.
Amenities (Ausstellungsstrasse, Toni-Areal)
Both museums provide convenient amenities for visitors to enhance their experience. If you find yourself in need of a quick snack or a moment to relax, you’ll be pleased to know that both locations offer dining options. You can grab a bite to eat at the museum’s café, where you can rejuvenate yourself amidst the inspiring atmosphere. The museum in Ausstellungsstrasse has a nice café outdoors where you can relax and enjoy the weather.
Moreover, don’t forget to visit the museum shops, which offer a delightful array of design souvenirs. From unique home decor items to tote bags, stylish accessories, curated books, and more, the shops provide an opportunity to take a piece of design inspiration home with you.
Lockers for your belongings are available in both locations (second floor in Ausstellungsstrasse, behind the entrance desk in Toni-Areal).
Whether you’re looking for a meaningful gift or a memento to commemorate your visit, the museum shops are a treasure trove of design-related treasures.
Practical Information: Museum Für Gestaltung Zurich
The Museum für Gestaltung Zurich is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. On Thursdays, the museum is open until 8:00 PM. The museum is closed on Mondays.
You are advised to check the museum’s website for any updates or changes to the opening hours.
Visitors can purchase tickets at the museum’s ticket counter. Here are the ticket prices for Museum für Gestaltung Zurich (as of July 2023):
- Adults: CHF 12 for one location, CHF 15 for both locations
- Discounted Price for groups, students, and seniors: CHF 8 for one location, CHF 10 for both locations
- Free: Everyone under 16 years old, holders of Swiss Travel Pass, holders of Zurich Card, and more.
The Museum für Gestaltung Zurich is wheelchair accessible, and the staff is happy to assist on-site. You can also obtain further detailed information regarding mobility impairment, visual impairment, or hearing impairment on the website: https://museum-gestaltung.ch/en/besuch/.
Design themes can be learned in Museum für Gestaltung by school groups. There are guided and non-guided visits. The Collection Archive in Toni-Areal, for example, is only accessible with the help of a guide. Bookings for guided tours and interactive tours should be made at least four weeks in advance. School visits without guided tours should be made at least one week in advance.
For children and young people, the museum offers a variety of workshops and courses that are tailored to different age groups and interests. These programs can be related to product design, digital communication, fashion, handicraft, or photography and are engaging and interactive.
Final Thoughts: Museum für Gestaltung Zurich
The Museum für Gestaltung Zurich offers a captivating experience, particularly when the temporary exhibits align with your interests. The museum is unique in that it is divided between two locations, each with its own distinct collections. This means that even if you have previously visited one location, there will be fresh discoveries awaiting you at the other.
The essence of the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich lies in the fascinating fusion of art and function. The exhibits showcase not only aesthetic beauty but also the practical application of design principles. From graphic design to industrial design and beyond, the museum’s displays highlight the intricate relationship between form and purpose. Exploring this intersection can be a fascinating experience, providing insights into the creative processes and problem-solving approaches that shape our everyday lives.
Is it Worth Visiting the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich?
If you have an appreciation for design, the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich comes highly recommended. At the Ausstellungsstrasse location, you can expect to encounter collection highlights that span various design disciplines. Additionally, the museum boasts an impressive collection of posters, showcasing events, places, and exhibits organized by the museum itself.
Both locations also feature temporary exhibits that provide fresh perspectives on design. I really enjoyed both the game design and Akris temporary exhibits, and am looking forward to discovering the next ones that will come out over the following years.
So whether you’re a design enthusiast, an art lover, or simply curious about the world of design, the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich promises an enriching and immersive experience that will leave you inspired and engaged.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.