“The Design Museum will neither dismantle its collections nor send them to storage.” This is how forceful this afternoon the Councilor for Culture and Creative Industries of Barcelona City Council, Xavier Marcé, was in response to the controversy raised by the new orientation of the Glòries center which, according to him, is totally unfounded and is based on “confusing” information. “or directly wrong. In an unprecedented gesture, Marcé appeared before the media accompanied by Oriol Martí, manager of the ICUB, and Jaume Muñoz, director of Patrimoni Cultural, but he dispensed with the presence of José Luis de Vicente, the director of the museum and architect of a renewing project that in recent days has raised alarm bells among art historians and heritage defenders. “It seemed to me that in this case I had to give an institutional response. There is no other reason that justifies his absence,” he said.

Last week a group of art history professionals circulated a letter addressed to Mayor Jaume Collboni in which they asked to stop the “scrapping” of the collections of the Design Museum, and this morning fifteen cultural entities, including The Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts (its promoter) and the art departments of the different Catalan universities, have published a manifesto that calls for a model in which the conservation, exhibition and dissemination of heritage can coexist with current creative activities. . “One mission cannot and should not erase the other, but must support each other,” they say.

But there is no debate, Marcé ditch, because there is no “scrapping” nor could there be in any way. “What worries me most is that this has been thought because it seems completely implausible to me,” he insists. As in many museums around the world, “we have asked the director to rethink the permanent collections based on a new story that allows a more open dialogue between the history of the city’s decorative arts and today’s design,” he argued. . “But the starting point is the collections, it couldn’t be any other way,” added the councillor, who denied that the name of the Design Museum has disappeared (despite the fact that it has stopped appearing in all communication channels) or that It no longer depends on Patrimoni but on the Indústries Creatives area, as it appears “internally” in the Icub organizational chart.

The controversy arose following the announcement of the closure, on March 3, of the permanent exhibition of the historical collections of decorative arts that were grouped in separate exhibitions located on the second floor: Extraordinary! and  Modernism, towards the culture of design!. The rethinking of the collections, a common process in any museum (in fact, these two areas were already reformulated in 2018 and 2021), aims to offer a new vision of the collection, more current, through Matter Matters. . The exhibition, curated by architect Olga Subirós, will be based mostly on historical pieces (including ceramics) and a small set of contemporary pieces that will be incorporated into the museum’s heritage. According to Marcé, the rest of the collections (industrial design, fashion and public design) will also be subject to review in the future and De Vicente has been commissioned to do so.

The collection of the Design Museum, the result of the union, in 2014, of the Museum of Decorative Arts (which includes the industrial design collection) with the Museum of Textiles and Clothing, the Museum of Ceramics and the Museum of Graphic Arts, is made up of 80,000 pieces of which about 2,000 are exhibited. “The museum has some collections, it will continue to have them and it will continue working on them,” reassured Marcé, who said that this is a reality that affects all museums in the world and that they are studying the possibility of creating open warehouses that can be visited. “It is very complex and we have it on the table seeing how we can solve it.”

After the presentation of the manifesto In defense of the Design Museum, some of the signatories demanded the transfer of the decorative arts collections to the MNAC, something that Marcé, who will meet with them in the coming days, does not even want to hear about. “If someone proposes that it is because they assume that the Design Museum wants to give up its collections, but that is not the case. That proposal only makes sense from a basis that is not true,” he concluded.