The Councils of the Swiss Confederation declared the promotion of design as one of the tasks of the Swiss Federal government already in 1917, under the "Swiss Federal Law on the Promotion and Elevation of the Applied (industrial and commercial) Arts". The first 96 works were acquired upon recommendation of the Federal Design Commission in 1922. Today, the Swiss Federal Art Collection encompasses almost 6000 design objects, most of which are on permanent loan to various Swiss museums of design.

Nowadays, the acquisitions policy is mainly in line with the collection goals of Switzerland's two most extensive design collections: since 1989, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture has been heeding the recommendations made by the Federal Design Commission for the acquisition of works from the realms of product- and industrial-design, as well as fashion and textiles. This is done in close collaboration with the Zurich Museum of Design, whereas acquisitions of jewelry and glass works are carried out in close collaboration with the Musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains (mudac) in Lausanne. In this manner, the acquisitions support and complement the already existing and well-defined collections of both institutions.

Annual credit for the acquisition of Swiss designer products amounts to between Swiss Francs 50,000 and 100,000.

The Swiss Federal Art Collection holdings have not yet been published in their entirety. However, a large share of them in the realms of product design and photography can be consulted in the Zurich Museum of Design`s online catalogue and in that of the Fotostiftung Schweiz.


Federal Office of Culture
Museums and collections
Federal Art Collections
Hallwylstrasse 15
CH-3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 86 35

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