National Museum of Ceramics Princessehof, Leeuwarden

Designed by: i29 interior architects
For client: Museum Princessehof Floor area: 1200.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Learning Space of the Year


Public Score
4.84
5.00 Function
4.70 Innovation
4.80 Creativity
Princessehof Lr 17
© ewout huibers

exhibition mass production

About the Project

We made the museum more accessible, both literally and figuratively: by opening up the rather closed 18th century building and bringing the interior to the 21st century. On a tight budget we created a contemporary setting that not only brings out the best of the collection but also gives the museum a new social function. The main challenge was to create a welcoming and contemporary entrance area in the rather closed monumental buildings. A timeless interior that matches the museum as a place for inspiration and surprise. In addition, the museum wanted to reorganise their comprehensive collection with the goal of having a clear and surprising experience. To attract more people and offer visitors the option of perusing the tearoom and museum store, the entrance area is entirely opened up. Visitors can now access the museum from both the front- and back entrance. The new area welcomes visitors in a spacious entrance hall with lots of daylight and connects the museum store, cash register area and tearoom. The horizontal alignment and level differences in these objects are a subtle reference to layers of earth, the natural resource of ceramics. Behind the counters integrated ramps offer disabled people access to the museum.

What’s unique about it

The pronounced simplicity of the new design interventions contrasts well with the monumental shell. The contrast between old / new and monumental / contemporary complements each other, and together they form a powerful and surprising whole. It places the monument back into the here and now, not only in a functional sense. To create an intensive experience throughout the various spaces i29 added clear contrasts, which is most visible on the passage areas. For example, the tearoom features vibrant fresh colours, while the museum store, in contrast, has tranquil grey tones so that all of the attention is focused on the products. Also the transition from the contemporary entrance area to the monumental museum square is a surprising metamorphosis. For the 'Mass Production' room, an installation was made of what seems to be simply stacked, brightly lit white boxes where visitors are fully encircled by ceramics. This installation leads to the 'Art Nouveau' room, where the experience is exactly the opposite. The room has been completely darkened, isolating the exhibited objects and making them look like they are 'floating in the air'. In line with i29's design philosophy that an inspiring environment is not dependent on expensive materials or technical show, this project was completed on a very tight budget.

Princessehof Lr 19
© ewout huibers

exhibition art nouveau

Princessehof Lr 14
© ewout huibers

information centre

Princessehof Lr 11
© ewout huibers

museum shop

Princessehof Lr 09
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lounge

Princessehof Lr 07
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tea room

Princessehof Lr 08
© ewout huibers

detail

Princessehof Lr 05
© ewout huibers

tea room

Princessehof Lr 02
© ewout huibers

entrance

Princessehof Lr 01
© ewout huibers

facade

Location of project:
Credits:
i29 interior architects

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