Welcoming the new season

We are delighted to share both our new Instagram channel and soon – the outcomes of our first artist residency for 2019. Firstly, our team at De Bijenkorf discuss the program along with the external Board of Advisors who have now been appointed.

It might seem unusual, perhaps, for a high street retailer to host an active creative program on the dynamic intersection of commerce and culture. However, a strong Dutch legacy combined with a mission to be ‘the most inspiring, surprising, and creative department store’; at de Bijenkorf – unusual is the new normal.

It is this intersection that highly interests Vincent Sturkenboom (Creative Director of de Bijenkorf). The future of retail is becoming synonymous with heightened experience – and art can be a vehicle for this. Vincent would like to see the previously temporary installations that emerge from Room On The Roof becoming permanent fixtures that spark conversations in unexpected places and through sharing special moments. This new environment will cement the role of creativity within the store of tomorrow for our consumers.

Cross-pollination & collaboration

Consulting us in our continued commitment to innovation, the new Board of four individuals have been selected for their wealth of experience. Spanning fashion design, publishing, art curation, education and business, it is the meeting of some of the brightest minds from the Dutch scene. “We are excited to support a creative vision for the future within the oldest and still most relevant department store in Holland,” says Peter C. Leferink, Managing Director of M-ODE Foundation. Perfect strangers until now, they have a common sense of purpose and their present dialogue with the team is focused on the topical program for the years to come. Special attention is being put on forming a voice around significant local and global themes to share with the audience of de Bijenkorf; from 100 years of Bauhaus to sustainability in fashion. While commissioning a diverse roster of inspiring multidisciplinary talent “the Room on the Roof dedicates itself to being a testbed for new work – aesthetic and inventive – where fresh perspectives extend the role of de Bijenkorf” says Inge Schmitt (Trend Forecast Manager at de Bijenkorf). For Iris Ruisch, Managing Director, Projects & Events, M-ODE Foundation, it is the ambition of the team to catalyze “collaborations in which different specialties are merged together to think across disciplines.”

On the lookout for new talent

Of course, not everyone can be an artist in residence at Room On The Roof. Securing a commission is tough, and only selected talent is invited to set up camp in one of the largest listed buildings in Amsterdam. The opportunity can be viewed not just as a launchpad for the individual but also as inspiration for the wider student population. As Principal Design Lecturer at AMFI, Peter is familiar with the challenges young creatives are facing: “In previous years, graduates from various art institutions had trouble-reaching new audiences and potential customers. Economic limitations and the massive rise of social media has led to a fiercely competitive market.”

A platform for the future

Room On The Roof has previously been a “mysterious and hidden tower,” the responsibility now is for de Bijenkorf to make sure “we use what can be a highly visible platform to reach a broad audience.” Says Annemarie Nycolaas, Curator Kunsthal Rotterdam. Fellow board member Robert Thiemann, founder of Frame Publishers thinks this visibility that Room On The Roof facilitates is its USP: “Where normally only a small audience of enthusiasts will see an artist’s work in a certain place, at de Bijenkorf, there is a very large group of passers-by and shop visitors; people who may not be looking for or used to appreciating creative work.”

So what does 2019 hold for Room on the Roof? – Follow us on our Instagram to keep up to date …

Words: Anna Kinneir; curator, Room On The Roof

Vincent Sturkenboom; Creative Director, de Bijenkorf
Inge Schmitt; Trend Forecast Manager, de Bijenkorf
Anna Kinneir; Curator, Room On The Roof
Robert Thiemann; Founder, Frame Publishers
Annemarie Nycolaas; Curator, Kunsthal Rotterdam
Iris Ruisch; Managing Director Projects & Events, M-ODE Foundation
Peter Leferink; Managing Director, M-ODE Foundation