Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen
The world-famous art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has grown to more than 151,000 artefacts over a period of 170 years. The collection offers a journey through the history of art, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. This vast collection is now housed in the freshly completed Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first publicly accessible art depot.
The depot offers visitors a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum world. Museums usually display just six to ten percent of their collections. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen breaks with this tradition and shows what customarily remains concealed. Visitors enter the engine room of the museum. The building, designed by MVRDV, not only houses all 151,000 artefacts, but makes visitors experience what caring and maintaining an art collection entails. There are fourteen climate-controlled compartments in the depot. Visitors can enter the storage areas accompanied by a guide. Each depot compartment is provided with its own climate control system, suited to works of art produced with different materials: black-and-white photography, color photography, plastic, organic/inorganic, and metal.
MVRDV’s ambition was to show how the art collection is cared for in a transparent manner. Next to five large zigzag stairways – reminiscent of work by Giovanni Piranesi – artefacts are displayed in cabinets and glass cases. Additionally, visitors can glance into the compartments through glass walls. A special depot app was designed, containing valuable information about the artefacts and management of the collection. The 39.5-metre-high mirrored building with its rooftop woodland and panoramic vista is a new icon for Rotterdam.