Extraordinary! Collections of decorative arts and author’s arts 3rd-20th centuries, Design Museum of Barcelona

This exhibition proposes a chronological journey, from the third to the twentieth century, among the various collections preserved in the museum, of ceramics, textiles, furniture, glass, miniatures, clocks, wallpapers and other objects. This arrangement highlights the value of collections while also allowing different relationships to be established between them.

Along the way, some thirty unique pieces for different reasons, which are a synthetic and free review of the history of the decorative arts in Catalonia, establish a dialogue. On the other hand, some of the collections and pieces on display have been away from the public for many years.

Coming into the first third of the twentieth century, the exhibition introduces itself to the so-called authoring arts, such as glass, ceramics, enamel and jewelry, creations with their own names and mostly by Catalan artists.

As a result of donations and acquisitions to citizens, collectors and artists, this exhibition becomes a tribute to collecting which has helped to shape the great artistic heritage of Barcelona.

Unique pieces
There are two types of object arts museums. On the one hand, those that, classified by typologies, matters or places of production, are usually part of series or collections. On the other hand, those that are usually part of a style or environment, among which there is usually a singularity.

Some are unique because they are unique pieces or because they are not equivalent. Others because the material or the construction technique are exceptional. Others because they are remarkable exponents of a culture or an age. Or others because of their origin, as they are often commissioned by institutions, associations, noble families or well-wishers to great artisans or renowned workshops.

Throughout the collections, thirty pieces of Catalan origin, also ordered chronologically from the eleventh to the first third of the twentieth century, accompany them, offering a quick and synthetic reading of the history of the decorative arts in Catalonia.

The different collections can still be typologically but chronologically displayed, from the oldest, the 3rd century Coptic fabrics, to the most recent one in the first third of the 20th century, wallpaper.

This allows the global meaning of the object’s arts to be emphasized, the collections to be presented side by side, and the value of each to be enhanced. It also sets the stage for focusing on the production, materials, use or function, not to mention the role of collectibles.

These collections, notable for their volume, uniqueness and quality, collect objects that have been largely “objects to live”, then typical of everyday life, and which evoke certain ways of life. Near or far, they come mainly from notable Barcelona collections of the 19th and 20th centuries. Names such as Pascó, Cabot, Gómez Novella, Plandiura, Rocamora, Muntadas, Estany, Roviralta or Amades, among others, are the foundations of the heritage that today constitutes the Barcelona Design Museum.

Author’s arts
In the twentieth century, the art of the object opened a new avenue: the world of the “proper name”, the so-called contemporary author’s arts, usually works that were unique or made in small series.

At the same time as the craft tradition and the development of design are disappearing, artistic creation is clearing borders and artists are free to explore the various paths. Ceramics, glass, enamel, jewelry, etc. are artistic expressions of secular techniques that in the twentieth century gave way to art objects with their own personality.

In Catalonia, decorative and applied arts, which have been well represented since modernism and driven by Noucentisme, have since been cultivated by a large number of artists and artists, and have gained international renown.

Design Museum of Barcelona
The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, is a new center of Barcelona’s Institute of Culture, which works to promote better understanding and good use of the design world, acting as a museum and laboratory. It focuses on 4 branches or design disciplines: space design, product design, information design and fashion.

The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona is the Catalan capital’s centre devoted to the arts of the object and design. The collection presents more than 70,000 objects, comprising decorative arts, ceramics, textiles and clothing, and graphic arts.

The Museum is the result of the merging of several previous existing museums, such as the Museu de les Arts Decoratives, the Museu Tèxtil i d’Indumentària and the Gabinet de les Arts Gràfiques collection. The opening of the new headquarters, located on Plaça de les Glòries, next to Torre Agbar, was set gradually during 2014.