Looking Ahead: Objects of Change

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen examines the future of the design collection in Looking Ahead: Objects of Change

From 14 April 2023, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (MBVB) presents Looking Ahead: Objects of Change at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. How future-proof is the museum's design collection? Does it include objects that will still be relevant 85 years from now? MBVB examines its design collection in collaboration with Museum of 21st Century Design, alongside works that already visualise the future by Christien Meindertsma, Melle Smets and Melanie Smith.

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The world is constantly changing. A museum normally looks at the past, asking when an object comes from and what developments it represents. Now, there are pressing concerns that turn this process on its head. Will the climate crisis change the future function of utilitarian objects? What role does social inequality play within the museum's design collection?


Looking Ahead: Objects of Change challenges visitors to transport themselves into the next century. How would people of the 2100s look at today's collection, and which objects might still be relevant? A futuristic view unfolds, raising questions about the present day, and Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, as a working building, is the perfect place to highlight and discuss these new collection concerns.


The MBVB design collection is explored in collaboration with Museum of 21st Century Design, the first museum to consciously contribute to a better future by promoting design that serves tomorrow. They do not have a permanent building, but instead create communities around online and physical exhibitions that take place at surprising locations – in this case Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.


In spring 2022, designer Christien Meindertsma received almost 5,000 kilograms of wool from the City of Rotterdam, coming from the many sheep the City uses to graze its lawns. For a long time, the wool was seen as a surplus by-product, yet Meindertsma discovered the material could be of value. It is good-quality wool that can not only be processed as clothing, but can also act as a raw material in the manufacturing industry. Looking ahead: Objects of Change shows several steps of research, including the accompanying documentary by film-maker Roel van Tour.


Like every Dutch city, Rotterdam aims for a climate neutral future. Energy transition is key, but what exactly does 'climate neutral' mean? To determine that, you need to fine the zero point. Together with journalist Kris de Decker, artist Melle Smets proposes that humans can serve as this zero point – could we live in a world driven by human power? Smets poses this question together with residents of Rotterdam's Bospolder-Tussendijken district, imagining what a 'human-powered energy district' could look like in 2050. The project is in collaboration with Huis van de Toekomst.

About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The world-renowned art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has over the span of 170 years expanded to more than 151,000 artefacts, which includes some 63,000 paintings, photos, films, pre-industrial design and design objects, contemporary art installations and sculptures, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

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