Nationalmuseum Design

February 2015 saw the opening by Nationalmuseum of Sweden’s new design hub at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern. With the museum’s design collection as a starting point, we aim at finding new forms of dialogue between the museum, designers and museum visitors.

Interior, Nationalmuseum Design at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

Interior, Nationalmuseum Design at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

February 2015 saw the opening by Nationalmuseum of Sweden’s new design hub. Located in the heart of downtown Stockholm, in leased exhibition space at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, the project takes shape over three years. Exhibits showcase industrial design, conceptual fashion, fine craft, international glass art, and design as indicator for the future. The venue’s launch took place in a week when the eyes of the international design community were already on the city, because of the 2015 Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair.

Design takes a step forward

The much needed renovation of the Nationalmuseum building presents a natural opportunity to develop the museum’s activities in other areas. The building was vacated in 2013, artwork and furnishings removed, and visits no longer possible. Since then, the museum has presented temporary exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Konstakademien), near Stockholm Central Station. The time then came for a bolder initiative intended to promote wider and deeper public awareness of the role design plays in society - Nationalmuseum Design@ Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

Raising the profile of design

Building on previous projects by Nationalmuseum, we seek to give design an even higher profile. For this purpose, and to increase our opportunities for interacting with the public, we created a parallel venue, Nationalmuseum Design. With applied art and design collections spanning six centuries, Nationalmuseum has a broad base to work with.

A central setting

Kulturhuset Stadsteatern recently made some former office space available for public activities. Nationalmuseum signed a three-year lease and will be responsible for programming. The city centre location is perfect, offering easy access to the main pedestrian thoroughfares and transport infrastructure. With its scintillating program, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern is a perfect setting for the design hub, which functions as a venue for dialogue with designers and visitors alike. Nationalmuseum Design stages powerful exhibitions – the products of collaboration, passion and knowledge. Half of the space is dedicated to exhibits, while the remainder includes a lounge area for seminars and programming plus a “design to go” gift shop.

Peek into the Project Container – a space within a space

To involve multiple contemporary design players in the dialogue, a space within a space has been created. A shipping container has been placed in the lounge, and its open doors invite visitors in to see small but impactful design works.

Collection’s undisputed strength

In collaboration with the wider community, we are aiming to create new insights into the past and the present, taking design as our starting point. Nationalmuseum’s applied art and design collection forms an unbroken chain from the 16th century to the present day. To tell the full story, the different eras and materials need to be brought together. This is an undisputed strength in the field where we are now looking to play a greater role.

Community of expertise

We believe that a community of expertise on artifacts, education and research offers the ideal framework for Sweden’s new design hub. Nationalmuseum has this in abundance. We have already brought together external players in the design field to form a reference group* reporting to Berndt Arell, Nationalmuseum’s director general. Through the members of this group, we hope to offer more insights into concepts, content and channels. We are open to collaboration with a view to identifying more opportunities for interaction with the wider public.

* Members of the reference group: Björn Rosengren (chair), Berndt Arell, Lena Munther, Lotta Ahlvar, Lisen Almgren, Nisha Besara, Robin Edman, Adine Grate, Claes Ljungh, Carina Oscarsson, Ewa Kumlin, Maria Rankka, Cilla Robach, Berit Svedberg, Michael Storåkers, Anna Valtonen, Jan Vana, Maria Veerasamy, Charlotte Wiking, Erik Åström.


Art Library and Museum Archives,
Holmamiralens väg 2,
Skeppsholmen, Stockholm 

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