AMO, the research and think tank wing of OMA, has completed a flexible new exhibition space for the permanent collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Named Stedelijk BASE, the bespoke display system is constructed from “very thin yet solid” free-standing steel partitions that interlock like puzzle-pieces to create an open-ended flow for viewing art from the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Led by Rem Koolhaas and Federico Martelli, AMO spent two years working closely with the curators, researchers and technical staff of the Stedelijk Museum to create an analytical matrix of the relationships between the artworks and objects in the museum collection. The architects then used this research to design the final architecture of the display system.
Located on the museum’s Lower Level Gallery, the 1,340-square-meter (14,423-square-foot) space has been organized chronologically. However, the open floor plan encourages visitors to break the order to create follow their own perceived course through the exhibition.
“In a productive collaboration with Stedelijk, Arup and Tata Steel, we have created walls like screens, thanks to the slimness of the steel structure,” commented Koolhaas. “These enable a lightness and flexibility in navigating the exhibition space, and encourage the viewer to take different paths in the space, as adventurous as circulation through any city.”
Each self-standing wall has been designed in collaboration with ARUP engineers to meet strict standards of stability, vibration and security. The resulting steel partitions are just 45 millimeters thick, giving them a solid yet elegant appearance and allowing the art to stand out boldly. Vitrines and platforms have been integrated into several of the platforms, allowing objects of different proportions and shapes to be displayed prominently.
“The exhibition responds to new ways of absorbing information,” added Martelli. “Viewers have become capable of focusing on many things at the same time, and the multiplicity of information in our environment stimulates our curiosity. While the organization of the exhibition responds to thorough research of the museum’s collection, it is not rigid: we have designed a landscape which allows visitors to discover associations between various artworks and objects.”
News via OMA