The Dordrechts Museum, established in 1842 and housed in a former mental hospital has undergone a complete transformation. Merkx + Girod created the interior design for the entire museum. The concept of the interior is that each room is able to tell it’s own story, based on the art collection: sometimes subdued, whilst at other moments, exuberant and vibrant.
The museum’s collection is the focal point within the interior, which is grouped thematically. A room of particular interest is the Ary Scheffers room, decorated with theatrical red velvet wall covering with embossed circles. This provides a warm cosmopolitan radiance – referring to 19th century Paris. Film fragments are projected on the shutters of this dimmed room.
Much attention has been paid to the public facilities, for example: the restaurant, the museum shop, the lounge and the Salon. The Salon is an abstract reconstruction of an 18th century period room, with carefully restored wall hangings, where small groups can dine in private. The curved wall of the lounge features a special wallpaper on which enlarged fragments of the museum’s collection have been printed.
Specially designed ‘Jewel boxes’ are used for the presentation of light-sensitive drawings, prints and small objects. These contemporary cabinets, made of Corian, are covered with decorations and engravings each of which refer to the relevant collection. The furniture and other details of the restaurant have been specifically designed. An interesting detail is the grey-silver stencil in the entrance hall. Its pattern is derived from the triangular forms found in the painting ‘Het Gezicht op Dordrecht’ (View of Dordrecht) by Adam Willaerts: the roofs, the waves and the sails. The museum’s sponsor wall is subtly and discretely incorporated in the entrance. The features demonstrate how much the search for and use of materials, form an important part of the design process.