The vaults of Zurich may be renowned their gold. But beyond the banks lies another, hidden, source of riches—one of the world’s largest poster collections. The Museum fur Gestaltung Zürich, currently preparing to reopen its flagship Ausstellungsstrasse location this month after an extensive three year renovation, houses more than 350,000 items in its expansive repositories.
For the relaunch, the first floor of the space will display a façade showcasing historic posters for the museum itself, all produced in the standard Swiss ‘Weltformat’ size (128 x 90.5cm). A further 220m2 of wall space will show the breadth of the collection, which extends to items from around the world, some dating back to the late 1800s and made up of donations from private collections, as well as acquisitions from contemporary studios. In the lower level of the museum visitors will be invited to open weighty display drawers to discover more graphic history; from original Wolfgang Weingart experiments to 1960s Czech film posters. The experience is also translated online with a new interactive website.
Poster collection curator Bettina Richter has spent 20 years collecting, maintaining, displaying, and educating on this extraordinary assemblage. Her selections for the opening exhibition will juxtapose illustration, photography and typography-led examples, creating connections in style across time, subject, and location.
Here, we’ve drawn together a selection of posters from the museum’s home nation; a collection of five images that aim to demonstrate that not only is Switzerland’s poster craft still some of the world’s finest, but that it varies in style, often depending where in the (small) country the designers hail from.