Centraal Museum, Utrecht

Collectie Centraal - exhibition design

From December 2023, ‘Collectie Centraal’ presents the permanent collection of the Centraal Museum in a completely new way. All sub-collections are covered in more than 400 objects: ancient, modern and contemporary art, fashion, design and urban history. The Centraal Museum not only wants to reflect on society, but also actively contribute to changing it together with artists, designers and visitors.

Together with a close-knit team within the Centraal Museum and external specialists, Caspar Conijn and Lies Willers have designed a series of spaces that are clearly related to each other, but each stand alone with its own unique character, narrative structure, and method of presentation. Each space is dedicated to a certain aspect of the connection between art, breeding ground and society. Contemporary interventions and collection changes can be applied under these universal titles without obscuring the narrative structure. This ensures that updates can be sustainably integrated into the permanent display while the overarching narrative structure remains guaranteed. The open structure and the many views allow visitors to make connections between different time periods and sub-collections.

From the start of their collaboration, it was clear to client Bart Rutten and designers Caspar Conijn and Lies Willers that they wanted to create an accessible, multidisciplinary, open and, above all, cheerful visitor experience, in which the public – in all its diversity – feels at home and seen and heard. A complex puzzle with a crystal-clear outcome: the art and its makers are celebrated.

In collaboration with Roderik van der Weijden, Alex Clay (graphic design), Joost de Bey (light), Fiction Factory (realization).

Photography Centraal Museum Utrecht/Gert Jan van Rooi