I spent my last morning in Amsterdam exploring the Stedelijk Museum; Amsterdam’s Modern Art & Design Museum. As a designer, I’m always seeking new sources of inspiration and ideas to fuel my work. The Stedelijk houses a collection of art and design from 1880 to now.
The exhibition space, designed by AMO/Rem Koolhaas together with Federico Martelli, takes a new approach to the museum experience. Versus many museums that walk you room to room or section to section, the Stedelijk Base provides an open-ended route. Choose your own adventure. The room is designed to mimic a timeline with the main chronology around the perimeter. At any point you can veer off into the middle of the room to dive deeper into groups of artworks representing specific themes or aspects of the collection. It’s a brilliant use of the gallery space.
This collection is the first integrated presentation of art and design in the history of the museum. The collection boasts a diverse combination of paintings, sculptures, furniture, photography, drawings, posters, interiors, jewelry, and everyday objects. The juxtaposition of the art and design “illuminates common threads that inspired the emergence of these various art forms (such as De Stijl and Bauhaus) while also eliciting new connections.”
The museum is home to works from Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, El Lissitzku, Wassily Kandinsky, Herbert Bauer, A.M. Cassandre, Yayoi Kusama, Dieter Rams, and many more. A few of my personal highlights from the museum:
“To constantly inspire breakthrough conceptual thinking, I go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, religiously, every Sunday.” - George Lois
Iconic ad man and designer, George Lois, puts it best, “nothing comes from nothing.” If you want to be a great designer you need to feed your mind with ideas. Get out from behind your screens and step into the great art and design museums around the world. Next time you find yourself in Amsterdam stop by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.