Mies van der Rohe International Museum of Design

The Mies van der Rohe International Museum of Design is a concept for a design museum in the heart of Washington, DC. The museum would be located in the current Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the only building in DC designed by Mies van der Rohe. The branding includes the museum identity, the identity for a museum shop, exterior signage and an environmental installation, as well as the design for the museums inaugural exhibition.




Opening Exhibit

Vision and Strategy for the Museum

Context The Mies van der Rohe International Museum of Design will sit in the heart of Washington, DC, a city filled with cultural and historical institutions. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, as well as the Archives of American Art, is adjacent to the new museum. This museum — the only Mies van der Rohe designed building in the district — will become the preeminent museum of design in Washington, DC. Mies van der Rohe is an appropriate title given his relation to the building and his involvement in the Bauhaus.

Audience Visitors to the museum are not necessarily the same as those of the Smithsonian National History or Air and Space Museums. The museum is more likely to attract people who are visiting the nearby Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum — but this is not to say there won’t be the occasional curious passerby, and materials should be able to communicate to individuals with little knowledge of design. There is also an audience of design professionals who are already familiar with and interested in the content of the museum.

Identity The museum’s identity should be simultaneously neutral and dynamic; dynamic, to reflect the nature and evolution of design; neutral, so as not to favor one area of design over another.

Exhibitions The museum will exhibit interdisciplinary works of design and showcase important graphic designers. A permanent collection of important design artifacts will remain on display.

Temporary exhibits will fill the remaining exhibition space. Exhibits can be organized in many ways, offering insight to the world of design through a variety of themes: retrospectives on important designers; collections of design artifacts from a certain historical time period or movement; curated exhibits on color, line, shape or the principles of gestalt; exhibits of new media and technology. The idea is to curate relevant collections of interdisciplinary design in order to demonstrate its importance and the ways it permeates into everyday culture.

Online An online and mobile presence utilizing new web technology will support the museum’s permanent collection and temporary exhibits, providing supplemental interactive components and resources. It will also provide a way of engaging visitors of the museum and professional designers. An online extension of a library or store will also be developed.

Library A design archive, library or resource center offers visitors and professionals the chance to learn more about design and access important information. This could also be the location of the store.

Activity It is important that the museum become a place for events and activity related to design, a place for discussion, learning and collaboration.