Delfts Blauw museum through new eyes
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Delfts Blauw museum through new eyes
The Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft). Photography by: Dalessi Fotografie, Kossmanndejong. Render images by: Braaksma & Roos Architects.

AMSTERDAM.- Founded in 1653, the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft) officially became a museum in 2021. Though this sole remaining original factory for Delftware welcomed more than 140,000 visitors each year, much had to be done to bring the factory museum up to a high and contemporary standard. Accessibility, routing, signposting and lighting were in dire need of revision after a series of renovations produced a confusing labyrinth. In cooperation with the architectural firm Braaksma & Roos, the museum modernised Royal Delft’s visitor experience.

The museum established a renewed visitor route that clearly explains the delftware production process and the history of Royal Delft and its collection. To bring the factory and its history to life, it made the building’s hidden qualities visible again.

The Royal Delft factory’s artistic legacy is embedded within its own walls. To highlight the building’s beautiful ceramic details, curators place the museum’s collection in harmony with these architectural details.

Royal Delft’s unique collection of building ceramics and tile tableaux includes replicas of pieces from the Peace Palace, ceramic wall coverings from the former Rotterdam post office, ceilings from the Beurs van Berlage and ceramic finishes from the Steenkolen Handels Vereninging building in Rotterdam. This collection dates to Royal Delft’s intensive collaboration with architects such as H.P. Berlage, Jos Cuypers, and well-known artists such as Jaap Gidding, Lion Cachet and Jan Toorop.

Royal Delft's key request was to create a museum hall with high-quality museum conditions so it could host temporary exhibitions and loan objects from third parties. These exhibition rooms were already embedded in the heart of the building complex, so to speak.

By converting two superimposed storage rooms, we created two new exhibition spaces: a room on the ground floor illuminated with artificial light and another room above it where daylight pours through the factory’s glass roof. A lockable void allows the halls to be used separately or together. Visitors can move from one floor to another by taking a new lift with a shaft lined with Delft Blue tiles made in-house. New passageways seamlessly connect this hall to the new visitor route. Steel doors with lots of glass provide a view into the factory and a connection to the shop.

Hand-painted ceramics are the origin of Royal Delft’s history and success. Previously, Royal Delft’s painters could only display their painting expertise through the static ceramics on display. Now, visitors can witness the painters in action in their new workshop. Accessible to visitors, this workshop is in the centre of the factory, underscoring their importance at Royal Delft.

The master plan provided for a phased transition process of the factory museum. The remodelled museum was opened on November 7 2022. A renovated entrance, shop and restaurant will follow at a later stage.

In collaboration with Royal Delft Group, Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau, Heinz Loopstra Light Design, Eekhout Bouw, Iris Design, MAV techniek, Smoef media, Shosho, Nobel Klimaatadvies, Pieters Bouwtechniek, Halster Electra, DAEL Group en Smederij Pos.

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