By Design

Stories and Ideas Behind Objects
Opens June 6, 2020
a chair with parts on the back that are shaped like prickly pear cactus

Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers, Mexican, born 1977, Prickly Pair Chair (Gent’s Style), 2009. Banak wood, medium-density fiberboard, paint, and upholstery. Acquired by exchange, 2016.2. © Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers.

chair made of strips of bent white ash and steel

Laura Kishimoto, American, born 1991, Yumi Chair, 2012. Bent white ash and steel. Funds from the Ralph L. and Florence R. Burgess Trust and Gayle and Gary Landis, 2019.530. © Laura Kishimoto.

stoneware vase with kingfisher blue luster glaze

Ruskin Pottery, British, 1898–1933. Vase, 1920. Stoneware with kingfisher blue luster glaze. Gift of the Collection of Carl Patterson, 2018.81.

lithograph concert poster for Miller Blues Band at Matrix

Victor Moscoso, American, born Spain, 1936. Miller Blues Band at Matrix, 1967. Offset lithograph. Partial gift of David and Sheryl Tippit; partial purchase with Department acquisition funds; and partial purchase from the Volunteer Endowment Fund in honor of R. Craig Miller, 2008.787. © Victor Moscoso.

ink drawing of a Louis XVI chest of drawers

Robert Venturi, American, 1925–2018. Louis XVI Chest of Drawers, about 1983–84. Ink on paper. Gift of Joe Duke, Arc International, Inc., 2004.46. © Robert Venturi.

rendering of the Amanda J. Precourt Galleries

Denver Art Museum, Amanda J. Precourt Gallery, rendering courtesy of OMA New York.

Opens June 6, 2020
Martin Building - Level 2
Included in general admission
Purchase general admission tickets online.

Design is all around us. Whether it takes the form of objects and spaces, images and interactions, or systems and processes, design shapes our lives in fundamental ways. But what shapes design?

A series of thematic installations drawn primarily from the architecture and design collection, By Design: Stories and Ideas Behind Objects illustrates the abundance and versatility of approaches to design. How does it come into being? Who creates it and for what purpose? How does it serve society? What trends inspire it?

The motivations behind these designs are as diverse as their creators. Unusual or newly available materials invite vigorous experimentation. The form of an object can solve problems, serve its users, and improve efficiency. Methods of production can range from handcrafted to digital fabrication. Personal, subjective, and time-bound ideas can be expressed through design. Whatever the approach, they spark a deeper understanding and appreciation of design.

By Design is the inaugural exhibition in the Martin Building's new Amanda J. Precourt Galleries, showcasing objects from the museum's architecture and design collection. This collection encompasses one of the most preeminent modern and contemporary design collections of any comprehensive museum in the U.S., featuring a broad range of design practices, including architecture, furniture, and industrial and graphic design.

This exhibition is organized by Darrin Alfred, curator of architecture and design. The 8,000-square-feet Amanda J. Precourt Galleries were designed by OMA New York and Shohei Shigematsu, OMA partner.

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