06.04.2009 Claudia Fuchs

Museum in Breda

The Netherlands' first graphic design museum was opened last year in the rebuilt and extended premises of the De Beyerd Museum in the centre of Breda. Hidden behind a listed gatehouse dating from the 17th century, the new building encloses a courtyard on three sides.

From outside, however, only the transparent steel-and-glass block extension tract dating from the 1990s is visible. Both annexes were designed by Amsterdam architect Hans van Heeswijk, who restructured the entire complex during the course of the most recent rebuild. The new building is designed specifically to accommodate the requirements of the paper exhibits; the historic building has regained its original function as an imposing entrance and houses the foyer, cash desk, and cafe; the museum shop, library and workshops are now situated within the glass block. Because of the limited floor area, half of the new museum rooms are located in the basement.

Discreetly finished in classic white and grey, they form the quiet background to the wide variety of examples of unconventional Dutch graphic design of the past century: posters, logos, books and signs, displayed in glass cases and on touch screens. Whereas the galleries have an introverted feel, the concept behind the foyer and corridors is one of openness: glass facades with a minimum of structural elements open up to the inner courtyard and street. Another surprising feature is the informally designed yet carefully detailed museum cafe with its design objects – from the ceiling lighting fixtures and classic chair designs to the cutlery and menu.

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