Iparmuveszeti Muzeum (Budapest)

Budapest, Hungary. Iparmuveszeti is a museum of applied arts, the third oldest in the world. The 1896 building, designed by Odon Lechner, is famous for it's unusual combination of Hindu, Mogul, and Islamic inspiration. It hasn't really changed, since my visit in 1989, except for the renovation in progress, which now obscures the entry with scaffolding. Horizontal banners have been strung along the covered walkway.

The relatively small entry is dazzling with ornate detail. The current signage seems uninspired in it's relationship to the building.


Entering the lobby is a light and airy surprise. The elegantly shaped cutaway through 3 levels is the dearly loved focal point of the whole building. Even the museum logo is based on this shape.

Hopefully the ticket counter and small cafe on either side of the lobby entry will be redesigned during the renovation. Sensitivity to the architecture seems extremely important here. Looks like they are experimenting with applying white vinyl over the floor designs to make them pop graphically?

In some areas, the magic of the building competes with the exhibitions. This one, wrapping around the central atrium, reinterprets the permanent collection according to collector/curator.

The big atrium is being used as a co-working space. I couldn't tell if this was a temporary situation or a more permanent use of the building.

"Breuer, At Home Again" is a temporary exhibition, using blue and yellow linoleum to define 2 time periods, rolling up onto the wall at either end of the long corridor. Overhead draping defines each designer's section, and helps take the focus away from the building. A nice touch was the dishes of period business cards on the furniture at each station, for the visitor to take, with the museum logo on the back.

"In the Mood For Colour" is another temporary exhibition, reinterpreting the permanent collection by color, using 3 rooms for green, red and blue. An almost circular vitrine creates a surround. It's pleasing to stand in one spot, and rotate to view the small green objects.