Venue Fuses Art with Audience in Amsterdam
It must have been destiny Jessica Voorwinde found this venue – the former office and warehouse of Brusse & Gransberg, traders in tobacco – to house ArtDeli, the restaurant-cum-exhibition space that recently opened in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic city centre. Not only did it fit the initiative’s name like a glove – ‘did you now the family that owns the property traded with the ‘Deli Maatschappij’,’ Jessica was asked when being showed around the property – the building’s history is close to Voorwinde’s Indian roots too. And not to forget: creative Partner Bram Claassen comes from a family of cigar makers. Honestly: what are the odds?
Their joint background in fashion – Bram and Jessica worked together for Dutch couturiers Viktor & Rolf – triggered the idea to start a platform for art and design that’s inviting and – more importantly – accessible. During their business trips, the duo got to experience a more casual interaction between art and audience, making it an unconstrained part of everyday life. ‘Take Madrid for example. There is this kind of nonchalance with which people act around art in this city,’ the duo explains. ‘That’s what we wanted to bring back home: recreate the atmosphere within ArtDeli. Visitors should decide for themselves what role the exhibition will play during their stay.’ By including a bar – designed by Dutch designer Lex Pott – and restaurant in their plans, the goal was achieved.
The location’s monumental status influenced the interior design. Restored, redesigned and adapted, the 1896 building now provides the perfect backdrop for the bimonthly changing contemporary art and design exhibitions. This is best seen in the building’s ‘Monsterzaal’, where a wooden grid protects the building’s historical features while at the same time functioning as a flexible construction for art presentations.
Questcurators Cathelijne Broers and Maurice Seleky were commissioned to compose the opening exhibition, which is named after Louis Couperus’ novel De Stille Kracht and can be visted daily at Artdeli, Rokin 93 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Photos Peter Stigter