Discover Benelux, Issue 31, July 2016

Page 36

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Leidseplein & Museum Area

LEFT: Exhibition room Wonen in de Amsterdamse School. Photo GertJan van Rooij ABOVE: Designs by Michel de Klerk. Photo Erik & Petra Hesmerg BELOW: Exhibition room Wonen in de Amsterdamse School. Photo Gert-Jan van Rooij Lamp by Willem Bogtman

Experience the colourful and expressive Amsterdam School TEXT: MICHIEL STOL

In the early 20th century, a group of architects from Amsterdam created a whole new architectural style: vaulted brick buildings with expressive decorations sculptured in. Those same architects also created rich and colourful objects including furniture based on the style. It became known as the Amsterdam School. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has an elaborate exhibition of these objects. “Even collectors see new pieces at the exhibition,” says Ingeborg de Roode, Industrial Design curator. “The heyday of the Amsterdam School, the Dutch interpretation of the Art Deco style, was 1910 to 1930. Not only the buildings, but the furniture and accessories were everywhere. After World War II, the focus in the Netherlands was mainly on functionalist architecture and design. In the last couple of years however, you see the Amsterdam School returning in newly designed buildings, and the colourful and detailed objects are making their way back into our interiors as well, ” explains De Roode. The exhibition is a colourful experience of all kinds of curve-shaped objects including 36 | Issue 31 | July 2016

furniture, lamps, clocks, textiles, stained glass windows and more, displayed in warm-coloured rooms, placing them in the right context. All objects, whether a king-sized bed, a small lamp or even a broche, have meticulously sculptured, three-dimensional expressive details. This is what the Amsterdam School is known for. The objects are from key figures like Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer, but also lesser known designers including Willem Bogtman and his nephew Louis. Visitors can create their own Amsterdam Schoolstyle clock in the workshop that forms part of the exhibition. The exhibition is an accumulation of ten years of research and a public appeal. De Roode: “We knew that apart from museum collections there had to be many more objects out there, but we did not know where so we asked the public. Now we have over 5,000 records in our database, which we can use to authenticate objects. Of the 500 objects on display, almost half come from private collections. The project has uncovered a lot of ‘lost’ work and unknown designers. And people are still bringing new items to our attention.

“Because a lot of the objects are from private owners, this is a special exhibition, with the objects being unique in their own respect. You really enter the style as if you were there: rich colours all around you, fully experiencing the colourful and expressive art that is the Amsterdam School.” Living in the Amsterdam School. Designs for the interior 1910-1930 runs until 28 August, 2016 at the Stedelijk Museum.