On January 27 Dutch department store de Bijenkorf launched an Artist in Residence project, entitled ‘Room on The Roof’. The department store has invited artists, writers, musicians, architects and designers to take part of the program. Its launch revealed an introductory film by Artist and Creative Director Christian Borstlap, and the first artist to use the studio is Maarten Baas.
Room On The Roof is located in the small tower of the historic building on Dam Square in Amsterdam, a unique spot in the historic heart of the city that has been converted into a cultural haven. The department store has teamed up with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for the first two years of the project. Together, they invited national and international artists to work on their projects in the studio, ranging from performances, poetry and light art to dance, music, film and photography.
De Bijenkorf integrates retail, art, culture and design in order to surprise and inspire customers. The tower is a prominent architectural component of the building on Dam Square and, with The Room On The Roof, it will also come to symbolize the creative innovation of de Bijenkorf.
– Caroline Krouwels, Head of Creative at de Bijenkorf
de Bijenkorf has invited i29 interior architects to design the interior of the tower as a unique experience for the artist in residence. The concept reveals an ‘installation’ that brings together two worlds in one space, a concept that plays with scale and perception similar to the universe of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The space has been divided in two distinct areas: on one side a vertical installation of wooden volumes from floor to ceiling, and on the other side a serene white space.
The wooden installation includes a pantry, storage, desk and daybed. The functions have been stacked on top of each other as a kind of ‘living cabinet’ in order to experience the tower on different levels. Via small ladders you can climb up in the cabinet. Each level gives a new perspective and view to the outside world. The original spiral stairs leading to the cupola have been restored to become the feature of the space, and create a fairytale-like atmosphere.
The room has been fully equipped for the artists, with a telescope for enjoying panoramic views of the city, a bed for dreaming, a special menu for meals, and its Dam Square location providing a source of inspiration. All the accessories such as the armchair, telescope and lamps are white to make a contrast with the wooden volume.
All works resulting from time spent in Room On The Roof will be shared with the public. This could be through an exhibition in the store windows, an online live performance or an installation in or around de Bijenkorf. The program will also be tailored to major events taking place in Amsterdam and involve collaborations with cultural institutions across the Netherlands.
According to Business Director Erik van Ginkel, “Both the Rijksmuseum and de Bijenkorf have a rich history when it comes to being a source of inspiration and creativity. That’s why we support Room On The Roof where artists, designers and writers are given the opportunity to fully focus on their art.”
In addition to Van Ginkel, de Bijenkorf has also brought in Julius Vermeulen, Art & Design Consultant at TNT, and Jane Withers, Design Consultant and Curator, as external consultants. Since it was founded in 1870, de Bijenkorf has had a clear vision of retail and a strong affiliation with art. Through the course of the 20th century, a special bond has been forged with architects, writers, designers and artists. Where art and business overlap is now an essential component of the de Bijenkorf strategy.
Client: De Bijenkorf
Design: i29 interior architects
Photography: Ewout Huibers
Builder: Fiction Factory
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
*All images and information courtesy of i29 interior architects.