From the world’s quietest room to the Honeycrisp apple, from the humble sticky note to the Artist-formerly-known-as-Prince glyph, this collection offers a sampling of what makes Minnesota a hotbed of inventive and creative design.
Minnesota by Design is a web-based initiative by the Walker Art Center to document the rich landscape of design across the state. The project seeks to increase public awareness of the human-built world in Minnesota — its landscapes, buildings, products, and graphics, both past and present — and the role that design thinking and practice plays in its realization. Our collection has been seeded with some 100 designs that reflect exemplary instances of practical ingenuity, creative thinking, beautiful form-giving, social and cultural impact, and innovative uses of technology.
The Minnesota by Design site was conceived as part of the Walker Art Center’s celebration of its 75th anniversary as a public art center. Although the Walker has presented contemporary architecture and design since its founding in 1940, there is no official collection of such objects at the museum. This too was by design. By eschewing the object-centered nature of most museum collecting and its attendant issues of conservation and connoisseurship, the Walker was free to explore design in the larger context of the cultural and social issues from which it arises and in which it resides. In creating this virtual collection, we especially wish to include those works that cannot be collected in any practical way — for instance, a park or building due to its size or uniqueness. To these “uncollectable” examples, we have added an eclectic mix of artifacts that purposefully stretch the definition of design into perhaps less familiar areas such as food design, service design, and game design. Minnesota by Design celebrates a place often recognized nationally for making an outsized contribution to the American design scene.