If you’re seeking unique cultural experiences to remember in Lisbon, there’s a lot to discover besides the more traditional attractions such as sightseeing, Fado, or food. For instance, in the heart of the historic center, just steps away from the Arco da Rua Augusta and Terreiro do Paço, stands MUDE, the Museum of Design and Fashion.
History & Structure
This exceptional “Design Museum” of Lisbon is one of the world’s leading museums of 20th-century design and several critics see its collection as the best in Europe. It opened in 1999 in the Belem Cultural Center and closed in August 2006 only to reopen in a new space in 2009 with a new name: Design and Fashion Museum as known as MuDe (which is also a word that means “change” in the Portuguese language).
This exceptional “Design Museum” of Lisbon is one of the world’s leading museums of 20th-century design and several critics see its collection as the best in Europe.
Housed in an eight-story former bank building in the heart of Lisbon, the museum maintains a roughly 2,500-pieces collection, composed of a diverse set of furniture, household objects, dresses and fashion accessories, dating from the 1930 onward. The captivating galleries of the museum carry the signatures of Portuguese architects Carvalho and Vilhena. The objects on display are arrayed like sculptures and are encircled by prominent, bare-concrete walls to create a strong and dynamic contrast with their context that further intensifies the glamourizing effect.
The museum does not have a traditional permanent gallery, but it is conceived like a work in progress in constant mutation and presents long-term and temporary exhibitions, talks, workshops, and educational programs.
The Capelo Collection
The project originates from the private collection of businessman Francisco Capelo, acquired in 2002 by the Lisbon City Council to establish a new museum. The famous fashion collection made up of 1200 couture pieces, including a famous Jean Dresses gown that Renee Zellweger wore to the 2001 Oscars and Christian Dior’s landmark 1947 New Look.
The design section of the collection consists of works by some 230 designers representing trends in composition from around the world.
The design section of the collection consists of works by some 230 designers representing trends in composition from around the world. There are pieces by iconic names such as Phillipe Starck, Charles Eames, George Nelson, Arne Jacobsen, Paul Henningsen, Vener Panton, Masanori Umeda, Henning Koppel, and Tom Dixon. The selection includes almost 200 designs deemed as classics grasping innovative furnishings, glass, and jewelry in harmony from 1937 to the present. Overall, there are 1000 design objects and over 1200 pieces of fashion by famous names such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, and Yves Saint Laurent. Take the chance to see the various free temporary exhibitions and visit the bookshop to see the selection of specialist design books.
Rua Augusta, 24
Open every day except Mondays; 10 AM-8 PM (10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays)