At Design Bridge we immerse ourselves in everything design. So when we got the opportunity to visit the beautiful Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, we jumped straight on the train towards ‘the city with many faces’ – a tough port city, a trendy nightlife city, a sophisticated shopping city, and a hip artistic city.
Inge, Gary and Raven from DB Amsterdam have written about their visit to Rotterdam to see the Design Derby exhibition:
Pop up exhibitions, giant retrospectives, historical and newly-founded venues, there’s never been so much access to the world of art and design. So in order to stand out from the crowd, you have to do something different. That’s exactly what the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen has done with its ‘Design Derby’ exhibition. Or, as we like to call it, ‘The Art-Off’.
The concept is simple, yet inspired. Pitting Belgium and The Netherlands against one another, the exhibition brings together some of the finest and most recognisable contemporary art from both countries spanning the last 200 yrs. Pieces from the neighbouring countries are literally placed next to one another to compare – the sumptuous and elegant Belgian Art Nouveau next to the more austere Dutch version, the contemporary traditional crafts from Belgium next to the level-headed Dutch Design of today.
The space is engagingly curated. Like a mash up between an IKEA shop floor plan and Top Trumps (with an outright winner being decided upon at the end), and with around five hundred pieces to look at, it’s quite a tour. But there’s a clear structure with zones divided by themes such as ‘The Colonial Past’ and ‘Industrial Revolution’, and the playful setup leads you through the exhibition in a pleasingly logical way.
Extra fun can be had by playing the ‘family game’ – answering questions and collecting cards from each era to put in your special exhibition booklet, helping you to determine whether you prefer Dutch or Belgian art and design. We’ll let you guess which one we ended up with…
As one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen has a fantastic and diverse mix of other great temporary exhibitions to explore once you’ve completed your Design Derby. The unique collection ranges from old masters to contemporary art, from Dalí to Eames – it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
So if you find yourself in Rotterdam, we’d highly recommend a visit to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. And if you have time to spare, you should also pay a visit to the food hall – the architecture is spectacular.