13 September 2014

Design Museum Gent

The Design Museum Gent is really fine. It is in an 18th-century house, the Hotel de Coninck. The curators have done a fine job of installing works in the historic rooms. It reminds me of the mix of old and new that I so enjoyed in the good ol' Cooper-Hewitt Museum.
The bulk of the works on display are in the back part of the complex which is new construction behind the back wall of the courtyard, that is, you cannot readily tell that the new construction is hiding behind the historic wall. The new part looks a little like the High Museum by Richard Meier without the central atrium. There are two floors for special exhibitions. At the moment, it's a show on Finn Juhl, "a Danish design icon" (with whom I wasn't especially familiar) and another on "No design to waste" about plastic garbage and recycling. The permanent collection is nicely displayed, including a couple rooms by Henry van de Velde.
I enjoyed the way they displayed the historic furniture in the new spaces. After I'd been in the galleries for a while, I noticed that there were little figurines interspersed, never identified. They were just there in the vitrine or otherwise inconspicuous and unidentified. I don't know if it is a curatorial or artist intervention but it was fun.
Here, a little bride and groom in front of the man-and-wife chairs by Pieter de Bruyne.

When I travel alone in Europe, the meal part is the least successful. I thought I had it figured out last night when I came across the Marco Polo Slowfood Trattoria but they were fully booked even though the dining room hadn't filled yet. Same with Il Filletto, just up the street from my hotel. I guess I need to research rather than meander. Maybe I'll do it better in my next life.

No comments: