The architecture and design collection features modern and contemporary architecture, furniture, and industrial and graphic design, and showcases designers and movements from this period. Also in the collection are 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.
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.
NOW ON VIEW:
During the Martin Building renovation project, the architecture and design galleries are closed.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION ONLINE: Browse artworks from the architecture and design collection anytime. Check back often for additions and updates.
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
News & Stories
Following the trauma of World War II, American architects and designers began to explore new ways of living and reimagined ordinary objects throughout the home in innovative ways. The Eames Storage Unit (ESU), a lightweight system of freestanding cabinets, was promoted as an inexpensive solution to the changing storage and display needs of postwar families. With the end of wartime rationing and a booming economy, Americans were acquiring more goods, and the storage and creative display of their possessions became a significant interest. More
Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year with 14 hours and 59 minutes of daylight. Since we're thinking about time passing today, we invite you to celebrate the solstice by visiting the whimsical clocks currently on view in Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America. The exhibition features 12 clocks (11 of which are shown on the wall above), each a playful design in bright colors and surprising materials.
Does your backyard need a DIY play structure this summer? Look no further! Download the instructions and plans for the Tri-Tower and see a full-size model of the Tri-Tower we built for Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America in the exhibition now. More
Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America is the first major museum exhibition to present the concept of play, in mid-20th century American design, as a catalyst for creativity. Beginning in the late 1940s—after the trauma of World War II—American designers intentionally intertwined work and play, generating designs characterized by innovation and whimsy. More
What inspired designer Kiyoshi Kanai? More
Drawn to Action was on view Dec 15, 2013–Jan 18, 2015. 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.
- Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America. Edited by Monica Obniski and Darrin Alfred; With essays by Darrin Alfred, Amy Auscherman, Steven Heller, Pat Kirkham, Alexandra Lange, and Monica Obniski. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum, 2018.
- Darrin Alfred, Curator of Architecture and Design
- Jessica Boven, Curatorial Assistant
- Ann Lambson, Interpretive Specialist