The museum is presenting the largest exhibition to date spotlighting the German graphic designer Otl Aicher, with more than 200 works and projects from the HfG-Archiv Ulm (Germany).
Highlights include 80 never before seen drawings from his project for the Metro Bilbao—which is celebrating its 25th anniversary on 11 November of this year—as well as a dozen drawings and photographs from the Norman Foster Foundation archive, the outcome of the encounters between Foster and Aicher. Other celebrated drawings by Aicher are also on display, such as those for Braun, the 1972 Munich Olympics, Bulthaup and Isny Allgäu, in addition to unpublished materials for his architecture projects for Rotis, a former agricultural complex which he turned into a residence and work site.
Otl Aicher (Ulm, 1922–Günzburg, 1991) is the most influential European designer from the second half of the 20th century. In 1951, he founded the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm along with Inge Scholl and Max Bill, which he directed with Tomás Maldonado and Hans Gugelot starting in 1954. In 1958, it began to set up Entwicklungsgruppe (development groups), which developed design projects for companies like Lufthansa, the Hamburg underground and Braun.
Aicher is the heir to the Central European graphic design tradition, which uses grids to structure the space. He applied this system freely, subverting the geometric order when the composition did not require it to generate a structured yet visually active design. The combination of rigour and freedom, along with the intellectual development fuelled by the web of relationships he forged with intellectuals around the Ulm school like Josef Albers and Alexander Kluge, made him an exceptional designer.
Starting in the 1980s, Aicher worked with Norman Foster on publications of his works. As a result of this relationship, in around 1988–1989 he was entrusted with the design of the corporate image of the Metro Bilbao. The project was grounded in architecture, and both the city and his inquiry into Basque culture and landscape are the elements that defined its communication system. This and the projects he carried out for the 1972 Munich Olympics and Bulthap comprise the core works in Aicher´s career.
The exhibition is curated by Gilermo Zuaznabar, a researcher and professor in the field of Art and Architecture Theory at Rovira i Virgili University (Tarragona).