It seems every year we head to the fine Dutch port city of Rotterdam they have something new to share; a stunning piece of architecture, an attraction or event. This year Art Rotterdam Week has grown too – while we attend predominantly for the annual Art fair (now in its 18th year) and design fair, Object, there is also the addition of artist lead space AVL Mundo and, new for this year, Haute Photographie to the week of art events.
With under 24 hours to get around here’s our pick…
International and established designers mix with up-and-coming talent at the annual Object Art Fair. On board the beautiful SS Rotterdam steamship, which is also a stylish hotel, parts of the ship are opened up to the public and filled with works.
Taking a walk around the engine room a display of 100 years or contemporary Dutch chair design is exhibited in small spaces and crevices while the empty swimming pool is filled with soft furnishings and accessories.
Four of the cabins are filled with throws and cushions or clothing and accessories while the ballroom hosts contemporary furniture. New designers work is displayed at the top of the ship in the glass covered top deck.
Object artists to look out for…
Marion Blume Jewellery – intricate wooden jewellery crafted in tiny layers and built up to look like branches that are turned in to decorative rings and brooches.
Jule Cats Design – thick glass vases that magnify their contents to illuminate them.
Focused Skateboard Woodworks – perfectly rendered, seven ply, multicoloured, maple desk table tops produced painstakingly from thrown away skateboards.
Jorine Oosterhoff – ceramic and porcelain vases, clocks and candle holders with bubble effect design.
The foundation invites artist residencies throughout the year to produce new bodies of work and this year is the turn of US artist Jason Page. Page has used the space to pay homage to his home and produce works that look at the current political state of the nation; from the election of Trump and the rise of fascism to utilitarian workwear lines and golf.
New to Art Rotterdam Week, Haute Photographie (opposite Rotterdam’s Cruise Terminal’ and next-door to the Nederlands Fotomuseum) turns the art fair on its head; taking out the staffed white walled booths founder and creative director, Roy Kahmann, has approached galleries and worked with them closely to display more than 250 photographs in a fine art exhibition setting.
48 photographers are represented across 5 galleries from the US, France, Germany/Sweden, The Netherlands and Belgium and span well-known to little-known and everything in between.
The 18th edition of the art fair sees around 60,000 visitors attend over 4 days in February. Exhibiting predominately European galleries the fair includes an impressive space for video works ‘Projections’; a ‘Young Galleries’ space; an exhibition of young artists ‘Prospects & Concepts’; and an exhibition of installations, site-specific works and performances by non-profit spaces & artist initiatives ‘Intersections’.
What else to see
Take a visit to the excellent Nederlands Fotomuseum – not only do they have a hugely impressive archive (5m images) and catalogue of some of the best Dutch and European photographers but their exhibitions are of consistent high quality. The current Europa What Else? exhibition includes Nico Bick’s tryptic images of every parliament (28 in total) in the European Union. Taking detailed pictures from one carefully selected viewpoint that covered all the main functions of the space: the seats for voting members, the gallery for members of the public, the places for government ministers and the centrally located seats for the presiding officer and clerks the images are accompanied by facts about each nation.
Head across the bridge from Hotel New York (which you should also pop to for either a cocktail, seafood dinner or a close shave at the Barbers) and check out Posse, a restaurant, shop, espresso bar, vintage emporium and gallery all rolled in to one. Stunning food served up in quirky surroundings makes for a great evening.
Where to stay
A 10 minute tram ride from Centraal Station Rotterdam to Wilhelminakade and you arrive opposite the iconic De Rotterdam ‘vertical city’ designed by architect Rem Koolhaas and home to the stylish 4-Star nhow Rotterdam. With views of the river, contemporary decor and one of the quirkiest breakfast buffet layouts we’ve ever experienced (donuts hanging from the ceiling anyone?) you are right in the heart of the action.
How to get there
Fly to Amsterdam Schipol via KLM from Birmingham and London airports.
Trains from Schipol to Rotterdam take around 40 minutes.
For further information about events in Rotterdam visit the website here.