I spent my sunday in the “new” museum of design, modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam: the Stedelijk. New in quotes because it was actually founded in 1874, however, it recently reopened after almost 9 years renovating, from 2003 to 2012. The museum is anything, but not new.
The collection is pretty nice, however, the best part was meeting in the toilet one of mine design idols.
1. Meeting an idol in the museum’s toilet
This is the kind of event that would be only possible in a contemporary museum :-) Well, I’d love to meet Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum’s toilet, or maybe not. However, meeting there the dutch designer Ineke Hans just confirmed my suspicion:
Amsterdam is a village with modern atmosphere. And this is probably the first reason I love living here.
I’ve already mentioned her in the alickel blog: Ineke designed this “Forest for the Trees” coat stand that I love. After meeting her, I saw many of her works in the museum permanent exhibition, such as the one below, called “Rocking chair Saturday”, designed in 1996 and part of the Stedelijk collection:
(you’re allowed, by the way, to take pictures and make movies inside the museum – but, please, turn off the flash)
2. Speaking of the collection
It’s fantastic! You can see, for instance, Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Van Gogh. However, my favourite part is the design halls, where you can have a wide notion of the world and dutch design history.
Red and Blue chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1917.
The red “Clay Table” by Maarten Baas.
And not only dutch designers, of course. Stedelijk has one of the most impressive collections of design and modern art in the world. It holds almost 90,000 pieces in total, from the 1870s to the present. I had a great time there, although 3 hours were not enough.
There’s a room especially dedicated to Scandinavian design, which definitely plays an important hole in the design history. Wonder why is scandinavian design always so simple?
There you’ve got the answer, but I’ll give you a clue: lutheran country, they should avoid ostentation in general. I like the result of simple lines and neutral colours:
You can see design objects from many places: Germany, Italy, USA etc. The armchair above is the Bel Air, by Peter Shire (US).
Yellow bottle, part of the tea pot collection.
Moreover, all of this art is in a beautiful building you can appreciate while visiting the museum.
4. Stedelijk architecture
Oh yeah, the architecture is another thing to explore while visiting it. I’ve heard many people calling the Stedelijk museum as the “new bathtub” of Amsterdam:
Well, I can’t disagree. It actually looks like a bathtub. I do like it!
The original building was designed by the amsterdamer Adriaan Willem Weissman. However, the new look is signed by Benthem Crouwel Architects.
The Stedelijk is in the Museumplein in Amsterdam, near Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. It’s interesting to see the building from outside.
There’s a restaurant you can go even without getting in the museum and it’s open until late night. If it’s sunny, the chairs outside are deliciously comfortable.
Inside the museum there’s also a Cafe. Of course, in this case you need first to get in the museum, but the building inside worth the visit:
The tube escalator is really cool, I was amazed while going down-stairs and I wasn’t alone: many kids were having fun inside the cozy tube. By the way, even more because of all the interactive pieces and the special art rooms for kids, the Stedelijk is a nice place for children and a good way to start them into design.
And after all of this, there’s also a book shop that is fantastic! It immediately became my favourite place for design, art and photography books in Amsterdam. As the restaurant, you can get into the shop without visiting the museum.
5. Go there:
1071 DJ Amsterdam
Tuesday, Wednesday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Thursday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Attention: closed on mondays.