Designmuseum Danmark (earlier named The Danish Museum of Art & Design) is Denmarks largest museum for Danish and international design and a central exhibition forum for industrial design and applied arts in Scandinavia. The museum’s collections, library and archives constitute a central resource centre for the study of design and its history in Denmark. The museum brings together and documents the contemporary developments within industrial design, decorative and applied arts. We must add to this the collection of exemplary works from older “areas” and periods, which are closely related to contemporary oeuvres. Designmuseum Danmark undertakes research into the history of art and design, taking as its point of departure the museum’s own collections, and presents the results in exhibitions, publications and educational material etc.
Designmuseum Danmark was founded in 1890 by the Industriforeningen i København (now Dansk Industri – The Confederation of Danish Industries) and the Ny Carlsberg Museumslegat. It first opened to the public in 1895 in a completely new museum building situated on what is now H.C. Andersens Boulevard, in the very centre of Copenhagen. Right from the start the main purpose of the museum has been to disseminate a concept of quality within design. Through displaying the exemplary objects it was hoped to raise standards within the products of Danish industry. The Museum’s collections were thus envisaged as serving as a source of inspiration for people active in industry. In addition there has always been the aspiration to make contemporary consumers both critically aware and discerning.
Since 1926, Designmuseum Danmark has been housed in one of Copenhagen’s finest rococo buildings, the former King Frederik’s Hospital. This edifice was built during the reign of King Frederik V in the years 1752-57 to designs by the architects Niels Eigtved and Lauritz de Thurah. In the early 1920s the building was renovated and refurbished to suit museum purposes by the architects Ivar Bentsen and Kaare Klint.