Entrance of Museu Disseny

©Esme Fox/Lonely Planet

Museu del Disseny de Barcelona


Nicknamed la grapadora (the stapler), Barcelona's fascinating design museum lies inside a monolithic contemporary building with geometric facades and a rather brutalist appearance. Inside, it houses a dazzling collection of ceramics, fashion, decorative arts and textiles, and is a must for anyone interested in the design world, with plenty of temporary exhibitions, too.

Start at the top and work your way down. The 4th floor houses graphic arts focused on the post-Franco design boom and the arrival of the 1992 Olympics, including several Almodóvar film posters. The 3rd floor takes you through local fashion from the 1550s onwards. Among other highlights, you'll see a dramatically lit collection of 19th-century crinolines (cage-like frames worn as undergarments beneath dresses), displayed like rare sea creatures inside giant glass tubes, as well as 16th-century French ballgowns, 18th- and 19th-century corsets, and haute couture from the mid-20th century including pieces by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.

The 2nd floor is devoted to decorative arts, with a wildly varied collection that ranges from an elaborate 16th-century Brussels tapestry and antique jewel-crusted pocket watches to ceramics by Picasso and Miró. The 1st floor houses Catalan product design from the 20th century – worth a quick peek for the furniture.

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