an image of a historic building with a contemporary, golden facade

Re-Imagined Municipal Museum of Weert, Netherlands Blends Old and New

With a new golden skin, the Museum W re-opens with an exhibition by local designers Job Smeets & Studio Job.

After closing in 2019 for an extended overhaul project, the Jacob van Horpe Municipal Museum in Weert, Netherlands has been re-christened as The Museum W. Originally the site of Weert’s city hall, the project was undertaken by interior designer and three-time recipient of the Dutch Design Award Maurice Mentjens. Mentjens’ design both renovated the historic structure and enlarged its floor plan, adding a new wing, extending the museum to a total of 12,200-square-feet.

Clad in Tecu®Gold panels, made of copper and aluminum alloys, the new wing features exterior shutters revealing windows and video screens, the latter which are employed to showcase video art or information on exhibitions. The golden facade features 1mm thick sheets, folded over at sides, along with 20mm-thick hard-pressed insulation panels behind each golden panel, giving the structure a sense of rigidity that’s meant to last due to the material’s resistance to rust, unlike brass.

a photograph of an entrance of a building with a golden facade
An image of a building with a golden facade with multiple windows open

The golden exterior serves as a nod to the museum’s collection of over 17,000 works of religious and regional European art and design. Encasing the museum in gold likens the structure to a reliquary, where precious relics and curiosities are stored, opening itself up to the inquisitive like a monumental Advent calendar. Mentjens, whose architectural practice evokes local contexts woven into visual storytelling, does not erase the museum’s past, but finds new ways to evoke the power of the landmarked building, offering a contemporary interpretation of the museum’s original facade, flanked in red wooden shutters with crosses. Relocating the entrance of the museum to the southern facing facade gives the Museum W a more recognizable ground floor entrance, along with making it more accessible.

Inside, much of the historic interior was restored, such as oakwood flooring, stained-glass windows, and the original stairwells that had been hidden for decades. Permanent exhibition spaces feature bright saturated walls, as well as new permanent fixtures such as showcases and suspension systems made of recyclable materials. One notable feature are the display tables with drawer units, with glass display cases installed on top, adding to the theme of the museum as an ever-growing kunstkammer.

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an image of a historic building in norway

The Museum W reopened with a loud, triumphant bang, with FOREVER ENDEAVOUR, an exhibition featuring the works of Studio Job co-founder Job Smeets. The maximalist, referential works and marvels of Studio Job were staged amongst works from The Museum W’s permanent collection and displayed amongst re-purposed Dutch cabinetry, with custom wallpaper showcasing sketches from Studio Job’s practice. This retrospective of the design studio, which will also be visiting R & Company in New York City this upcoming November, fits well with the renaissance of Weert’s premier art museum—the merging of past and future within a fascinating, evolving present.

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