On 14 June, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will open the exhibition Limited/Unlimited – One Hundred Years of Dutch Design. The exhibition was prompted by the publication of the book Dutch Design Culture.
In recent years, Dutch design has grown into an international phenomenon. The exhibition displays everyday objects by Dutch designers, such as chairs, irons, radios, vases, textiles and packaging. From every decade of the 20th century, two design traditions are placed side by side, enabling visitors to view traditional objects or those made in small numbers alongside industrially produced pieces at a single glance. The exhibition places the attention that Dutch Design paid to unique objects in a wider historical context. Different influences and trends had an effect on both design traditions.
Traditionally made objects or experimental objects made in small numbers were subject to greater attention than products designed by unknown designers. While, with the odd exception, many of the latter may be less famous, they are certainly not less valuable or innovative. Against this background, many objects that were mass-produced industrially have ended up in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection. Striking examples include the simple services made by Regout and the Sphinx in the early 20th century, Kristalunie glass from the 1930s, Gero designs from the 1950s and 60s, and office furniture from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
The forthcoming Dutch publication Goed in Vorm: honderd jaar ontwerpen in Nederland (On Form: One Hundred Years of Designing in the Netherlands) outlines the background of Dutch Design’s recent success, shedding light on the social and artistic context of Dutch design in the last century. Author of the book is Mienke Simon Thomas, curator at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.