Even before its opening, the anticipation for the Depot was high. It is not always the case that a museum’s architecture is a mesmerizing attribute to its overall exhibition, however the Boijman’s Depot is one of those rare cases. Situated in the prominent Museumpart in the center of Rotterdam, the Depot has now officially become a must-see attraction and experience not exclusively for tourists, but especially the locals. “A collection that belongs to the whole city” is emphasized frequently by the museum’s runners.
Before my visit, my expectations were admittingly high; I had done my research and knew that this museum was going to be different. Nevertheless, I wanted to retain the element of surprise and so I waited to experience the sense of wonder until I was standing before, as well as inside this peculiar building.
A first glance
The bowl-shaped construction naturally stands out as it’s covered with mirror plates, reflecting Rotterdam’s infamous skyscrapers. Already intriguing as it is, entering the building invites one into a futuristic space through the fusion of concrete and neon lights. The jewel of this architectural masterpiece is its so-called ‘maze’: an intertwined staircase guiding the visitors throughout six floors, ending at the building’s terrace, from which one can glance at a 360-view of the city. A wonderful work conducted by the MVRDV architects.
‘The maze’, apart from “creating an active, dynamic and wondrous environment”, enables the viewer to look at art from every angle, with every step on that stairway presenting new layers of the museum’s work. Glimpses of storage rooms with masses of paintings, or watching artists in live action whilst in their creation process make you speculate on the Depot’s shape: It’s a place one dives into a bowl of art and all it entails.
Work as art
This is not a museum in its classic sense. The Depot showcases not only works of modern art, but the entire framework it’s embedded in and the people who make it happen: from creating, to cleaning, conserving, storing, protecting it, conducting research, engineering processes and not to mention, a place one emerges into it as a visitor. This way, the museum pays homage to all the different parties involved in the field, and the employees who make art accessible to everyone.
A final note
Due to the new COVID regulations introduced a few days prior in the Netherlands, the day of my visit I had to reschedule my time slot for entering the exhibition. Knowing that time slots were sold out the weeks before, I expected to spend quite some time to get through customer service on the phone. But luckily, I was proven wrong. I was able to contact Constumer Serivce immediately and had a lovely employee committed to help me, in which he succeeded in what seemed like in no-time. Considering the often difficult times we live in, such interactions are always appreciated, and I am very thankful I got to experience the Depot on this day.