Museum Angewandte Kunst
Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts, Museum for the Decorative Arts
The Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts) in Frankfurt am Main is a recognised icon of postmodernism. The ensemble created in 1987 by the American architect Richard Meier consists of a neo-classicist villa from 1804 and an affiliated new building. The project for the Museum Angewandte Kunst was Meier’s first commission in Germany.
Stylistically, Meier was guided by the architecture of classic modernism and adopted its sober formal vocabulary. He himself belonged to the group of architects dubbed the “New York Five”, who saw themselves in the tradition of the early Le Corbusier. With their almost-always white buildings, they sought to build upon the functional style of European modernism from the 1920s and 1930s.
Meier plays skilfully with the functionalist vocabulary, using white squares, walls with rectangular cut-outs and uniform window grids. For the new building on the Museumsufer, he integrated the neo-classicist villa that had been built for the pharmacist Peter Salzwedel and subsequently used and altered by the banker Georg Friedrich Metzler before becoming home to the museum’s collection in 1967. Meier’s design features an L-shaped complex of three cubes that surround the villa and combine with it to form a square ground plan. The new building, completed in 1987, combines various architectural concepts and provides a modern response to the existing building.
The light-flooded rooms inside, however, became obstructed over the years by conservation measures and built-in display cases. Entire window fronts and terrace façades were closed off to protect the objects in the collection, blocking sightlines. To restore Meier’s original transparency, a comprehensive renovation of the museum’s new building was carried out in 2013. And previously, in 2009, the historic villa was also remodelled. Nine so-called style rooms – from Baroque to Art Nouveau – provide an insight into the development of domestic culture by presenting authentic interiors.
Since its reopening, the Museum Angewandte Kunst, whose collection includes objects from the realms of applied art, design, fashion, book art, graphics and architecture, now directs its focus on the perception of social trends. And the museum programme now emphasises design, fashion and performative arts. [DB/DK]
Contact and opening hours
Ein Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main.
This place is part of the tour:
Encounter design diversityFrankfurt/Main, Mainz und Kindenheim
Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate have a lot to offer when it comes to the Bauhaus and modernism. Witness the legacy of the New Frankfurt reform programme, the achievements of the New Building (Neues Bauen) movement in Ludwigshafen and examples of modernist graphic and communication design at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz.