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Our building

Nuestro edificio

Our building is a heritage asset that we must preserve for society. In addition to serving as the main location where we carry out all our work, this building has significant historical, artistic and architectural value.

The National Museum of Industrial Arts was founded in 1912; in the 1930s, it would become the National Museum of Decorative Arts (Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas or MNAD), the name by which it is known today. The museum was initially housed in a flat on Calle Sacramento, in the historic heart of the capital – Madrid de los Austrias.

When lack of space became a problem, the Museum was moved in January 1934 to a small 19th century palace, at number 12 in the Calle Montalbán, which had until then housed the Escuela Superior de Magisterio (Teacher's College). This is still the Museum's home today.

This palace was built in 1878 by the architect José María Gómez on a commission from Doña María del Carmen Espinosa, Duchess of Santoña. She never took up residence there, and the building was leased until the 1920s. Its architecture belongs to the type of vanished bourgeois hotels built from 1877 onwards on the grounds of the Buen Retiro Palace.

The building was acquired by the State through its purchase from her heirs in 1941. From that time onwards, the building underwent much expansion and consolidation, and its exhibition space was quadrupled over the following decades.

The original palace, which comprised three floors and a basement, was free-standing; it was separated from the walls on each side by a U-shaped patio around its perimeter. The red brick and granite façade are from the original building, as are the collection of Italian mosaic flooring created by Pellerin and Domenico, and the magnificent white Italian marble staircase, whose walls are decorated with medallions depicting images of men from the world of culture and the Arts.

The present building is the result of successive additions made to the original, although these adopted respectful solutions that still allow the enlarged part to be clearly understood, and can therefore be considered a good example of such architecture.