Situated in the heart of the city, the Design Museum Gent sits behind the stately facade of an 18th century palatial mansion. It was opened in 1903 to inspire artists and craftsmen and provide them with training and support. Upon his appointment as curator, Lieven Daenens developed several sub-collections showcasing Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Italian postmodernism. He purposely focused on items of international origin, but also added a whole generation of Belgian designers to the collection.
Alongside a name change in 2002, the museum realigned its focus from applied arts to a broader scope of industrial and artistic design. The collections are presented so visitors can create a bespoke tour on a specific theme. Design Museum Gent is internationally esteemed for its excellent collection of Belgian design, anti-design, organic design and proto-design, and is the only Belgian museum exhibiting both historic and contemporary collections.