ModeMuseum, Antwerp (2003)

R. J. Preece
artdesigncafé - design | 10 February 2010
This article was previously published in Interior Design April 2003, p. 56, with the title "House of Antwerp".

Dries van Noten, Ann Demeutemeester, et al., may have turned Antwerp into an international fashion center, but the Belgian city’s fashion museum itself was far from central—located in an out-of-the-way suburb. That museum’s collection has now found a home in the ModeMuseum, part of the buzzing ModeNatie complex designed by architect Marie-Jose Van Hee to house MoMu as well as Antwerp Polytechnic’s fashion department, a brasserie, and a bookstore.

MoMu occupies 100,000 square feet within an 1890s hotel building. Van Hee transformed its original triangular courtyard into a skylit lobby with walls and staircase clad in horizontal runs of merbau wood. Beyond are a fashion library, a reading room, offices, an event hall, and a conference room as well as a 13,000-square-foot main exhibition space. The inaugural show, "Selection 1: Backstage", showed pieces from the southern Netherlands and Flanders over the course of six centuries. A smaller gallery displays contemporary work, putting today’s Antwerp in clear fashion perspective.