King opens Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

King Willem-Alexander has opened Depot Boijmans van Beuningen: the world’s first publicly accessible art depot. An amazing building in which you look at art differently, from the perspective of managing and collecting art objects. From 6 November 2021, the public can discover the treasure chamber of Rotterdam.

Museums usually display only six to ten percent of their collection. The rest is in storage – hidden from the public. Depot turns this around, giving access to the 151,000 objects of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. This world premiere is the epitome of the changing views on collection management, conservation and public access. Making visible to the visitor not only the objects, but also the care going into such a valuable art collection.

This new tool, this new typology, helps us to preserve and open up these treasures.

Sjarel Ex and Ina Klaassen , Directors Boijmans Van Beuningen

Silo developed the visitor experience inside the building. With interactives, wayfinding and signage, the public – by themselves or with a guide – can discover what is inside the various depot compartments, what happens in the restoration studios, or what the story is behind an art object.

Depot has been designed as a work building that transparently shows how the collection is maintained, while at the same time engaging with the Museum Park in new ways. Every day the depot looks different, like in a living painting. The atrium with the intersecting stairs and the thirteen large glass showcases containing collection pieces is the heart of the depot: this is where you see curators and restorers at work and where you sometimes have to make way for art transport. Silo’s work has been designed and executed as an integral part of the architecture.

Depot is the result of commissioning with vision and the cooperation between a large number of parties: from builders to artists. In the project, we worked alongside and together with MVRDV, MTD Landschapsarchitecten, Concrete, John Körmeling, Marieke van Diemen, Pipilotti Rist, IN10/Door, Summit DIS, Thonik, Van Beem & Van Haagen, I.M. Brouwer and many others.

Main photo: Ben Houdijk

Photos: Ossip van Duivenbode

Rene Toneman

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