I’ve been coming to Barcelona regularly now for about eight years. Our balcony looks out over Gaudi’s Pedrera (‘the ant hill’, we call it), the Sagrada Familia in the distance and in between a gingerbread castle-like building with six pointy towers that we dubbed ‘The House of the Witches’ Hats’. But only now have I seen it from the inside.
Built in 1917 by the chief government architect Daniel E.C. Knuttel for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Trade in The Hague, the brick and stone building at Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 has been transformed by the Rotterdam-based Kaan Architecten into a home for five government-related planning and advisory agencies. I wrote an article for Architectural Record about how the once dark and heavy interiors of this national landmark are now light and transparent, and, in keeping with the changing times, B30, named after its address, is ready to facilitate an exchange of knowledge rather than the exercise of power.
The V&A Museum in London is opening a new museum next year specially for Scottish design, in the coastal city Dundee, the fourth largest city of Scotland. The huge building on the river Tay is the outcome of an international competition won by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also designing Tokyo’s Olympic stadium for 2020. The V&A is also one of the founding institutions of a new design museum, Design Society, which is to open this October in the Chinese city of Shenzen.
New trend: souvenirs are the new outlet for designers. It dawned on me when I attended a talk by Scottish curator Stacey Hunter at the exhibition design Language during the Milan Designweek about her project Local Heroes in Edinburgh last year. She invited nine designers to create souvenirs that went beyond the heritage clichés. It reminded me of a Dutch project by designer Elmo Vermijs, 100% Terschelling, which is in the running for one of this year’s Dutch Design Awards.
For the newspaper NRC I visited China and Hong Kong and wrote about the two enormous new design museums being built there: Design Society in Shenzen and M+ in Hong Kong.
I was at the Milan Design Week 2017 to spot the newest developments in design. Today I spotted designs at the Triennale designmuseum and the Lexus Design Award. Read the article…