Design affects atmosphere, alters perception, and even changes behavior. SFMOMA’s Architecture + Design collection connects audiences with pivotal works of design that influence contemporary culture. It brings innovative architecture and design into focus, revealing its powerful ability to enlighten, and often transform, our experience of and response to our world.
Long before architecture and design were a focus of museum collecting, SFMOMA was participating in discussions about their influence on environment and behavior. Though the Architecture + Design department wasn’t officially formed until 1983, in 1940 SFMOMA featured the groundbreaking Telesis exhibition, which focused on urban issues and architecture and prompted the city of San Francisco to establish an office of planning. Since then, the collection has featured historical and contemporary works of architecture, furniture, product design, and graphic design, as well as works of art that address these design disciplines.
Header video: Jürg Lehni, Viktor, 2006–16 (detail); collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Jürg Lehni