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Designers' Favorite Museum Stores

By Alexandra Chang
updated February 21, 2017
Michael Kraus

It used to be that a museum store was just a souvenir-laden gauntlet you had to pass through to reach an exit. Recently, however, many such shops have become retail destinations, with highly curated collections of unique objets d'art. We asked three popular designers which ones they like the most.

Karim Rashid

Anyone who has ever set foot in a Container Store has seen the work of this Cairo-born designer: He's the brain behind the candy-colored Umbra garbage cans. Rashid's favorite museum shops include the one at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. "The MoCA store is very small, but I love it," he says. Every time he visits, he's happy to discover something new, like a set of Sad Ghost salt and pepper shakers ($50). In Amsterdam, Rashid recommends the Stedelijk Museum: "There are some unusual things that walk that fine line between art and design." Among the items made by Dutch designers is a toilet-paper holder fashioned out of a wire clothes hanger ($7). And while visiting Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art recently, Rashid came across a line of jewelry that he'd never spotted anywhere else. "It was designed by a New Zealand architect in the 1960s," he says. "The rings are amazingly funky and cool." They start at $53.

Tobias Wong

New York--based Wong turns ordinary everyday objects on their ear. Among his most memorable creations are a crystal chandelier dipped in industrial rubber and a bulletproof rose corsage. Ever the contrarian, Wong says he doesn't really like museum shops. "Sometimes they don't even sell stuff related to the show," he complains. When pressed, Wong mentions BlackBlock, a boutique run by André, a graffiti artist, in Paris's Palais de Tokyo. "It's very supportive of artists," he says. BlackBlock sells limited-edition items like a monster pillow designed by André for Japanese brand Bapy ($154).

Michael Graves

The designer of futuristic housewares, who stays accessible to the masses via his Target products, recently admired some geometric bowls ($8.50) from Japan at The Newark Museum. "There's always an eclectic mix, including things that are tied to current exhibitions," he says. At the Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen, Graves likes to browse the plaster casts of reliefs (from $25). "I have two hanging in my house," he says. And he loves the print room inside the Louvre, which few know exists (it's upstairs; follow CHALCOGRAPHIE signs). "If you ask for a particular artist, the curator will help you find examples." The prints start at $58.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213/621-1710, moca.org
  •  Stedelijk Museum Oosterdokskade 5, Amsterdam, 011-31/205-732-812, stedelijk.nl
  • Museum of Contemporary Art 140 George St., Sydney, 011-61/2-9245-2458, mca.com.au
  • BlackBlock avenue du Président-Wilson 13, Paris, 011-33/ 147-233-704, blackblock.org
  • The Newark Museum 49 Washington St., Newark, N.J., 973/596-6546, newarkmuseumshops.org
  • Thorvaldsens Museum Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2, Copenhagen, 011-45/33-321-532, thorvaldsensmuseum.dk
  • Musée du Louvre quai du Louvre 36, 011-33/ 140-208-557, louvre.fr
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