Mission statement

Aims and Objectives

The Museum für Gestaltung considers itself to be Switzerland's premier design and visual communication museum, covering fields including design, furniture, textiles, fashion, jewellery, applied arts, graphics, typography, photography, new media, book art, posters, film and design in intermediate areas, but also architecture, stage design, interior design, public spaces, and the interface between art and design. The museum's exhibitions, collections and publications make it a forum, an archive and a laboratory in one, creating a lively mix of research, collection and communication. Design phenomena are seen as expressing human activities and values, connections are revealed and debates stimulated. By addressing the past and the present both practically and theoretically the museum intends to secure and enhance design's public effectiveness and standing.


The museum is part of the Zurich University of the Arts and co-operates with all its divisions. Project-related work with other institutions and external experts is another core feature of our activities. The museum also maintains links with the local, national and international museum scenes.


The Museum für Gestaltung Zürich mounts temporary exhibitions addressing single topics or themes. These aim to be emotionally appealing, entertaining and at the same time academically sound. This creative treatment of themes and objects allows both the general public and also expert audiences to examine material at an appropriate level. The design of the exhibitions and publications makes it own contribution to this. Supporting programmes and museum-related educational events underline the relevance and topicality of the themes treated.   


The Museum für Gestaltung Zürich carries material of world-wide significance in its visual archives: the design collection, the graphics collection, the poster collection and the applied art collection hold a wealth of key items illustrating aesthetic development since the early days of industrialization. Typical objects from everyday culture have been and still are accepted as well. Collecting activities focus on contemporary work; international items feature, as well as Swiss products.


The principal focal points for research are the subject areas of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. Research results are made available as databases, in exhibitions or in printed form. The collections are also open to external researchers.     


The Museum für Gestaltung Zürich developed from the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Applied Arts Museum) founded in 1875. The strategic decision made in the 1920s that the Museum and the Kunstgewerbeschule, now the Zurich University of the Arts should share accommodation remains valid today.
Steger & Egender's listed building has functional and aesthetic qualities that make it one of the most striking examples of Neues Bauen in Switzerland. It contains the hall and the gallery as central exhibition spaces, the foyer with cafeteria and shop, the vestibule and the multi-functional lecture theatre with state-of-the-art technical equipment. Like the main building, the poster gallery and the design gallery are located near the main station, in the dynamic industrial quarter's cultural mile.

From the 27 September the new Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot (Open Collections) presents temporary exhibitions and brings together its four collections – Poster, Design, Applied Art and Graphics – with their 500'000 objects. For the first time the Museum für Gestaltung presents its collections to the public in the Schaudepot. Daily tours on specific themes will offer insights into this collection of international importance.

Steger & Egender's listed building on Ausstellungsstrasse will be closed from 29 September 2014. The building will be adapted and reopened in its original form as an exhibition venue.