Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Night outside the museum

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao turns 25

Considered one of the world's most important architectural works of the past few decades, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao celebrates its 25th anniversary today. To commemorate the event, the museum has unveiled a slogan: 'Art Inspires Future.' The museum has also released a special edition of its logo in which the characteristic Gs of the Guggenheim brand move like gears to shape the number 25. Perhaps they'll serve cake as well?

Designed by famed Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the museum not only changed the skyline of Bilbao, Spain, by transforming the city's decrepit port area, it changed the entire way the city was perceived by the world. Architect Phillip Johnson called it, 'the greatest building of our time.' The acclaim was echoed by critic Calvin Tomkins, writing in The New Yorker, who characterized it as 'a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium.'

Since its opening on this day in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is credited with renewing the Spanish city from a gritty industrial backwater into a glitzy travel hotspot—a metamorphosis now described as the 'Bilbao effect.' Cities around the world have been attempting to repeat the formula: Hire a 'starchitect' to put a neglected locale on the cultural map, which will in turn attract more investment, prestigious brands, and tourism. Some attempts have been more successful than others, but there's no denying that Bilbao has long since arrived.