The mirrored ‘bowl’ that is Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen will soon open to the public in Rotterdam, and it offers a completely new museum experience for art lovers.
Billed as the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility, the Depot offers visitors access to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s entire 151k-strong collection of objects – only a small percentage of which is able to fit into the Rotterdam museum.
Instead of exhibitions, visitors to the new depot can browse the archive however they wish, while getting a behind-the-scenes look at the work of people carrying out conservation and restoration.
The layout of the depot is strikingly different to typical museums, showing artworks on a series of storage racks, shelves and cabinets spread out across six floors. Paintings, metal objects, photography, and organic and non-organic artworks are divided into climate-controlled compartments, which can be entered if accompanied by a guide.
MVRDV designed the building, covering it in nearly 2,000 individual mirrored panels to create its reflective exterior. Its utilitarian interiors speak to the working nature of the building, although the architects were able to be a little more indulgent on the rooftop – where a ‘forest’ of birch trees surrounds a restaurant and frames views across the city.