Chaloner renovates Dutch hero’s museum

Interior designer David Chaloner is to renovate and redesign a gallery dedicated to one of the Netherland’s cultural heroes in the coming months. The Jopie Huisman Museum in Workum, in northern Holland, houses the work of autodidact artist and Dutch celebrity and philosopher Jopie Huisman.

The multimillion pound project will see Chaloner Studio expand the 400m2 museum by ‘adding an education centre and new café’ to run alongside the venue’s new programme of events, says Chaloner He says, ‘I am putting in place a five-year design plan and the intention is that the work will start, on a fundraising level, in the next 12 months.’

According to Joyce Huisman, the artist’s daughter-in-law and a member of the museum’s board of trustees, the aim is ‘to reposition the museum, allowing it to attract a younger audience who have not grown up seeing Jopie on television’.

Joyce adds that the board decided to use Chaloner for the redesign because ‘he has demonstrated skills across design disciplines including retail, branding and identity and we are hoping he can use these abilities to update many elements of the museum’.

‘The museum attracts 60 000 visitors a year, but this is only a third of the number it had when it opened, while my father-inlaw was [still] alive and drawing visitors to the museum because of his place in the media spotlight,’ she adds. Founded 25 years ago by the artist, the museum has been at its present site for 20 years.

‘It has the biggest circle of paying museum “friends” in the Netherlands,’ continues Joyce. ‘The museum is financially indepen dent and is the only museum in the Netherlands not to receive a grant from the government.’

The UK designer was appointed to update the museum’s look a year ago. He has known for years, after she reviewed Terence Conran’s Chelsea Flower Show garden while Chaloner was working as retail design director at Conran & Partners.

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