January, Amsterdam’s de Bijenkorf department store launched an Artist in Residence program in collaboration with the renowned Rijksmuseum. Aptly entitled “Room On The Roof“, de Bijenkorf has invited artists, writers, musicians, architects and designers to utilize their newly renovated iconic tower as an inspirational setting for creation. All works resulting from time spent in “Room On The Roof” are shared with the public through store window displays, online live performances and/or installations in or around de Bijenkorf. Falling directly in line with the department store’s approach to art and design in relation to retail, Caroline Krouwels, Head of Creative at de Bijenkorf explains, “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.”
Set in the historic and cultural heart of the city, de Bijenkorf entrusted the restoration and renovation of their 1870s tower to the talented i29 interior architects. The goal was to create a unique experience for the future artists-in-residence and i29 approached the task with a decidedly ‘Alice in Wonderland’-like slant. While half of the space was left an open and pristine white, the other half was built up in a series of stacked wooden volumes to create a sort of ‘living cabinet’ – allowing the tower and its views of Dam Square to be experienced from a variety of levels. Left in place to punctuate the center of the room and beautifully meld both past and present, is the tower’s restored spiral staircase which, continues to allow access to the cupola above.
The first artist/designer in residence was Maarten Baas and each subsequent month hosts a new talent, all of whom enjoy the “Room On The Roof’s” fully equipped studio complete with bed for day dreaming, telescope for views and a very special menu for meals. Now I’m just waiting on my invitation!
Photography by Ewout Huibers