vrijdag 26 juni 2009
The Party Continues
The opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam resurrects the Tzarist gala tradition. An experience monument dedicated to the lavish craftmanship of hosting social extravagance.
The 31 hour opening weekend party began Friday night with a multimedia tribute to Russian cultural heritage. Queen Beatrix and President Medvedev celebrated with Amsterdam on the banks of the Amstel. The massive floating stage garnished with red carpet and royal pomp embraced performances from Russian ballet, piano, orchestra and historical images from St. Petersburg. The Queen and President entered amidst a twilight sky dazzled with fireworks.
The museum is a masterful architectural achievement in managing flow. Architects Hans van Heeswijk and Merkx+Giord have created an organic interior spacial design. The heart of the Hermitage experience is the stairwell situated in the entrance. It gracefully connects four floors including lounge, restaurant Neva, meeting rooms, elevator shaft and the exhibition halls. The weekend attracted thousands of visitors and the building handled the masses comfortably.
The building structure itself is circular and the the architects added to this fluidity by cutting out lookout points and adding windows in tight corners. Navigating through the museum space never feels clusterphobic because of the vantage points from each floor and the lighting. Visitors can focus on the detailed ornamentation on the gala dresses while the building's tasteful minimalism guides you to the next Tzarist wonder.
Boxy but Good
The interior design may be circular in its movement and the gala dresses are glamorous, but the functional installations are decidedly square. In fact, just about ever cut-out form of the square has been utilized from the ticket desk to the wall. And it has been done well because these square shapes are always highlighted with lights and or highly reflective materials like bronze. The sensation is floating. Corners are rounded off by the haze of irradiance. Light is often cast from the ground up, which makes waiting in line dreamy and reduces glare on glass.
More to Come
The 50 million euro museum was financed by Bank Giro Loterij. We can expect the Hermitage Amsterdam to set a new standards in the museum experience through it's architectural achievement and cultural programming. We will find that the Hermitage is a place that we associate with going out, having dinner, attending meetings, dancing a silent disco, attending concerts and oh yeah... it's also a world class museum.
Read the published Dutch version in STYLINK