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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

The Design Museum Lisbon

Rain this afternoon made it the perfect day to head indoors to the Design Museum or more correctly the  Museo do Design e da Moda. Located in Baixa on the pedestrian Rua Augusta the museum is close to  the triumphal arch that divides the shopping district from the monumental Praça Comércio.
As the name suggests this is a museum of design and fashion and one of the things that I liked the most was that couture is displayed along with other designs of the relevant period. As you can see Balanciega holds its own amongst the mid-century furniture below.
Providing some local flavor, upstairs was a beautifully displayed  exhibit of costumes worn by famous Portuguese fado singers.
One of the most interesting aspects of the museum is that building itself. They make a great point of saying that unlike other design museums this is not a white box, though in a way the downstairs gallery is a white box inside a concrete shell. I think I must be missing something here because the famous design museums I can think of, including  the V & A, the Cooper Hewitt and the fantastically renovated Musee les Arts Decoratifs are all in historic buildings rather than white cubes. 
What  is special about the building here is that the museum is housed in an old bank building that fell into ruin. In renovating the building they left the bones of the bare concrete, creating a contrast between the glossy "design" on show and the somewhat ruinous state of decay of the ceilings and walls.




Below you can see the original interior architecture of the bank building, I loved the railing which is repeated in the stairwells. It has a very stylish 'Mad Men' feel.


In a nod to both the current and previous use of the building they have restored several rooms  including a lavish formal reception room and several stark "behind the scenes" bank offices with mid-century metal desks and typewriters. It's an interesting idea, bank as design museum and vice versa.
Tip: Entrance to the Design Museum is free and like many museums in Lisbon it is closed on a Monday. There are temporary exhibits in addition to the main gallery. You'll find the museum one block from the triumphal arch shown below. Tram 28 runs one street over or take the Metro to Praca Comercio and walk up Rua Augusta.

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