Depot Rotterdam 

Can you hack today’s musea system? Yes, you can. Or at least, I think you can. Let me introduce you to Depot Rotterdam. It’s a part of the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, a contemporary art museum. The Depot is the repository for their art, their archive, a conservators Walhalla. And the good news? It is open to the public. 


It welcomes you with zig-zag open staircases, glass vitrines, and big window frames.  Under guidance, you can visit the special temperature rooms.  Big spaces, filled with art, stored in racks, piled above each other, like a warehouse. Not curated by themes, or any urgent societal topics. But stored by the conditions the arts need to be preserved, or stored based on their size, or material. Sometimes the artworks were showcased, visibly shining, sometimes they were stored in blind boxes. I took a tour with a small group, and we were guided to a closed, wooden crate. Nothing more to see than the outside, not a small hint of the piece that lies within. The guide told us about the piece what was inside; what it looked like, how precious it was, and how it was acquired. We had to do it with our imagination. We were bewitched, could only glance, our mouths slightly open. A bit like the story of The Emperor’s new clothes, but then better. 


So yes, this depot feels good, somehow liberating. Just strolling through art, experiencing totally other stories, not forced by certain topics, or some curated issues that need attention. No, just walk & watch. Be curious, be impressed, by the total randomness of the things you see.


A bit more about the building. It looks like a big UFO has landed on Museum park. The story goes that it was inspired by a shiny silver fruit bowl that was standing on the table, near the urban scaled model. Not sure if it’s true, but with its alien appearance and a facade fully made out of mirrors it does attract every visitor, rocking as the selfie queen of Rotterdam.

Architect: MVRDV

Client: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

scroll down to see more