The design and arts space was closed for seven months for an extensive redesign of the interiors, with a focus on sustainability and heightened security partly prompted by the theft of around £15million-worth of artworks in October 2012.
The theft saw the gallery lose pieces including Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, Picasso’s Harlequin Head, Matisse’s Reading Girl in White and Yellow and Lucien Freud’s Woman with Eyes Closed.
OMA, which was responsible for the original design in 1992 in a project led by partner Rem Koolhaas, has created a new main entrance to the Kunsthal, as well as a new café, bookshop and cloakroom.
The work was led by partner Ellen van Loon and associates Michel van der Kar and Alex de Jong.
Tel Design’s original logo design remains, though the space will feature new wayfinding and signage. The stencil-effect graphics are used in black, white and red, with a series of icons denoting the different facilities with the Kunsthal.
The original gallery’s facades have been replaced with double-glazing in a range of colours, and the building’s former layout as a series of interlinking spaces has now been divided into compartments to house the different shows. According to the gallery, this will help ‘regulate climate, comfort and energy consumption more efficiently’.
A new second entrance to the Kunsthal has been added, allowing visitors to access the auditorium and exhibition spaces independently.
Ellen Van Loon, OMA partner, says, ‘The renovation demonstrates the possibility of updating the building to meet contemporary requirements, whilst retaining the original concept of an “exhibition machine”.’
Kunsthal has no permanent collection, instead showing a rolling series of shows at any one time. The shows opening with the redesign are S.H.O.E.S, with graphics by Das Buro; Finnish design brand Marimekko; artist Kudzanai Chiuria’s This is not Africa, this is us; photographer Martijn van de Griendt’s Forever Young and The Second World War in 100 objects.