Moderna Museet

A museum with a distinct signature

Moderna Museet, Sweden’s national museum of contemporary art, opened on Skeppsholmen, Stockholm in 1958. Within just a few years it had developed an international reputation, with acclaimed exhibitions of works by Picasso, Duchamp and American Pop Art. When the museum was forced to temporarily close its relatively new premises in 2002 for repair and refurbishment, it took the opportunity to critique its own visual identity – and concluded that a change of direction was in order.

Early in the process, we homed in on the idea of a logo that could animate the museum’s long, linear façade and call out loud and clear to Skeppsholmen’s culture vultures. Together with MM we experimented with many, many identity ideas, including one that simply doubled the famous McDonald’s “M”, or Golden Arches, and in discussions we questioned whether a strict, conventional identity programme was the right approach. The solution, a so-called “readymade”, eventually leapt out at us from the cover of the 1983 25th Anniversary catalogue, designed by an artist with a long association with MM, Robert Rauschenberg.

Project partners:
Signature by Robert Rauschenberg
Henrik Nygren Design
Greger Ulf Nilson
Marge Arkitekter
Tham Videgård Arkitekter

Letter of approval from Robert Rauschenberg
Hermann Nitsch flipping through the SDL designed Explosion! catalogue
Early sketches for the Moderna Museet identity
Poster design by Swedish design duo Melin & Österlin
Stamp design by legendary Dutch designer Wim Crouwel
‘M’ being delivered to Moderna Museet in Malmö
Poster design by Jonas Frank
Robert Rauschenberg catalogue from 1983 for his retrospective at Moderna Museet