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On the ground floor of the Van der Steur building, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents the permanent design collection. The museum will be using seven rooms to exhibit some thirty themes from the history of design, illustrated by objects from the Middle Ages until now: from a 17th century tulip chest to an Eames chair, from ceramics from the middle ages to china by Hella Jongerius.
In The Design Collection, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents objects from the collection in separate groups. Each group illustrates a specific theme in the history of design from 1500 to the present day. We see, for instance, the results of the quest for a satisfactory imitation of Oriental porcelain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The outcome of the search for a door handle that feels right in the hand, and the experiments in bending wood to create a comfortable and affordable chair are also presented as individual themes in this display.
The three curators responsible for The Design Collection have chosen their favourite works of those on display. Mienke Simon Thomas, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design: ‘My favourite is the seventeenth-century Collector’s Cabinet by Herman Doomer with the pressed whalebone drawer fronts. It intrigues me because this unique piece dates from a period when everything was handmade, but it nonetheless has some traits of serial production. Because they were pressed in a single mould, the drawer fronts are all identical. As such they undermine the romantic notion we have of craftsmanship!’
Annemartine van Kesteren, Curator of Design, has chosen the ‘Bag Radio’ by Daniel Weil from 1983: ‘Because it an enormously liberated idea about what a radio can be. This design shows very effectively how the functionalist design principle 'form follows function' has come to an end.’
Alexandra Gaba-van Dongen, Curator of Pre-industrial Design, has selected the Lady Harvey Glass, a monumental wineglass with a panoramic representation of the city of Hamburg from the beginning of the eighteenth century. ‘The glass is part of the extensive gift of Elie van Rijckevorsel, the founder of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s design collection.’
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This exhibition is part of the ‘Design in Boijmans’ programme. In 2013, design has been spotlighted in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. With the renewed arrangement of the museum collection and several design exhibitions, a lot of attention is paid to design in the museum.