The Design Collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen can now be seen in the museum’s eight purpose-built galleries. Visitors can trace the history of design based on diverse themes that cover seven centuries of design.
Examples from the museum’s rich collections of ceramics, furniture, glassware and Dutch Design are shown to excellent effect in this new presentation, alongside objects by De Stijl and examples of Japonism. The presentation also includes objects that are exhibited less frequently, such as enamelled plaques from the late Middle Ages and industrial design from the post-war reconstruction era. The presentation also features some important new acquisitions, including a rare 17th-century collector’s cabinet by Herman Doomer, an exceptional late 19th-century clock with candlesticks by Emile Gallé and the ‘Downstairs’ by Bertjan Pot from 2012. The Design Collection will remain on show at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen for the next two years.
Formal and stylistic experiments
The presentation in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen explores about 30 separate themes, broadly chronological in their arrangement, in order to demonstrate how designers have turned their attention to a panoply of aspects over the centuries. They tried to devise novel variations or to find solutions for a specific problem. For example, the public can see the results of the quest for a satisfactory imitation of costly Oriental porcelain in the 17th and 18th centuries, a series of door handles explores how designers have been searching for solutions that fit the hand ergonomically since the 20th century, and visitors can follow the experiments that designers conducted using bent wood, which eventually resulted in the production of an affordable and comfortable chair. The thematic selection sheds light on the great diversity of developments in design.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s entire collection of applied art and design comprises no fewer than 45,000 objects. The current selection includes about 600 objects. Refreshing the works in the presentation every two years means that the public can admire a revolving selection of high-quality pieces. ‘The Collection Book’, which was recently revamped by designer Joost Grootens, devotes ample attention to this collection. The photos and descriptions of works such as the collector’s cabinet by Herman Doomer place these objects in several different contexts and explore their relevance in greater detail.
Design in Boijmans
The Design Collection is part of the ‘Design in Boijmans’ programme. Design and crafts take centre stage at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen this spring: the ‘Hand Made: Long Live Crafts’ exhibition is set to open on 9 March.