The architecture, design, and graphics collection is displayed on level 2 and level 6 in the North Building. Works from the Middle Ages to the 1900s that represent major developments in style, form, material, and technique in European and North American furniture and decorative arts are presented on level 6 of the North Building. A series of rotating spaces on level 2 focuses on modern and contemporary architecture, furniture, and industrial and graphic design. These exhibition spaces showcase designers and movements from this period.
The collection includes the AIGA Design Archives at the DAM, comprising approximately 12,000 examples of communication design created from about 1980 to 2012. This collection includes work from all disciplines of communication design—packaging, corporate communications, brand and identity systems, editorial design and illustration, and experience design, among others. The materials reflect major design trends as well as many of the leading design firms and individual designers practicing during this period.
Highlights of the collection include:
- The Davis W. and Ellen N. Moore Collection of Georgian silver
- A series of architectural drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright
- Furniture and product designs by the late Italian designer Ettore Sottsass
- Several key works by Michael Graves
- More than 800 rock-and-roll posters from the psychedelic era
- A portfolio of original screen prints by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki
- Chairs designed by Marcel Breuer, Joe Colombo, Tom Dixon, Charles and Ray Eames, Finn Juhl, Danny Lane, Thom Mayne, George Nakashima, Pierre Paulin, Gio Ponti, Eero Saarinen, Borek Sipek, Shigeru Uchida, Robert Venturi, Hans Wegner, and many others
- Notable bodies of work by such influential graphic designers as Alvin Lustig, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Massimo Vignelli, Art Chantry, and Michael Bierut, among others
- Significant works by innovative Colorado designers, including a selection of posters by Colorado artist John Sorbie, an assortment of screen prints by experimental printer Rick Griffith, a portfolio of architectural prints by visionary architect and professor Douglas Darden, and architectural drawings by Arnold Ronnebeck, Jeffrey Sheppard, and George Hoover
Things To Do
Posters by internationally acclaimed Colorado designers Phil Risbeck and the late John Sorbie announce performances at Colorado State University, and showcase expressive techniques, energetic imagery, and restrained typography. More
These eight works reveal the vast range of materials and processes used by contemporary designers as they challenge our notions of what design can be through the enduring form of the chair. More
Throughout its 35-year history, Ruskin Pottery produced decorative vessels, tableware, buttons, and plaques intended to be set in silver as jewelry. The pottery was known for hand-thrown ceramic bodies and innovative glazes. More
Punctuating the DAM's upcoming North Building revitalization project, Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon is an exhibition on the renowned modernist building, its history, and its future. The exhibition will feature historical photos, original architectural sketches, building models, and project renderings to tell the story of the North Building’s evolution. More
News & Stories
Performance on Paper is included with general admission, free for members. More
Read curator Darrin Alfred's Q&A with Scott Bennett. More
If you’ve stopped by Level 6 of the Denver Art Museum’s North Building this summer, you might have noticed some chairs sitting unusually high. Using special mounts made by our conservators, we raised six chairs spanning two centuries to showcase their legs. More
Design After Dark takes place once again on Friday, February 6, 2015 at Bindery on Blake, with the theme of “CUT.” In anticipation of Design After Dark | CUT we caught up with event co-chair and designer Craig Rouse, owner of R Design. More
One recent morning, I woke up and started scrolling down my Twitter feed (don't judge) and ran across four posts in a row that were titled something like "top 10 things to...", "5 ways to...", and "the 20 most popular," and I felt annoyed. Why? Because I clicked on them all. There's just something so alluring about the promise of knowing everything you could possibly want to know in just a few little bits of info, right? More
In 1989, designer Kiyoshi Kanai depicted a charging elephant in his poster Don’t Buy Ivory, a work created for the World Wildlife Fund’s effort to raise awareness of the illegal ivory trade in Asian countries. “I designed the poster at the time feeling the fierce urgency to protect the African elephant from unnecessary slaughter,” said Kanai by e-mail. Unfortunately, 25 years later the slaughter continues driven by a demand for items made from rare materials including ivory. More
These publications are available for purchase in the Shop.
- European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century. R. Craig Miller, Penny Sparke, Catherine McDermott. London: Merrell in association with the Denver Art Museum and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2009.
- US Design 1975–2000. R. Craig Miller, Rosemarie Haag Bletter, et al. New York: Prestel Verlag in association with the Denver Art Museum, 2001.
- Masterworks: Italian Design, 1960–1994. R. Craig Miller. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1996.
- Darrin Alfred, Curator of Architecture, Design and Graphics
- Kati Woock, Curatorial Assistant
- Ann Lambson, Interpretive Specialist
- Marjorie Garner, Design Council Coordinator