Arts and crafts from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The collections in the Museum of Applied Art are rich and varied. A whole department is dedicated to the Wiener Werkstätte containing some exquisite solid silver pieces by Josef Hoffmann – I spotted the perfect tea set for me – and jewellery by Koloman Moser.
Members of the Secessionist movement have their works presented in the Art Nouveau section. These include Klimt's drawings, on wrapping paper, for the Stoclet Palace in Brussels. Exhibits from the Biedermeier and Empire period reveal perfection in craftsmanship. Given the opportunity to actively participate in arranging the display here, Jenny Holzer, the American conceptual artist, had a Biedermeier sofa by Dannhauser copied in aluminium which, although rock hard, is surprisingly cool and comfortable.
A superb presentation of Thonet bentwood furniture shows just how far back in history the Ikea "flat pack" idea was born. Further displays include a selection of priceless oriental carpets - one of the best in the world - glass, porcelain and the first ever built-in kitchen, known as "Frankfurter Kitchen". For the latest in cutting edge installations head down to the basement, where every few months or so an emerging artist gets the opportunity to show his or her very latest in creative design.
Handy, informative pocket-size leaflets, listing every single object with relevant details in English, can be found at the entrance of every room. These can be taken home. I think this is one of Vienna's underrated museums, consider coming on a Saturday when entrance is free. The design shop in the MAK has a good selection of books and is a great place to find a gift that no one else has, yet! The Österreicher im MAK restaurant, cafe and bar is highly recommended for meals and refreshments.