Recently, Museeum visited Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The museum is fantastic on so many levels – architecture, library, restaurant… However, we particularly loved level -1, where the flagship museum store is located. At fist you note typical souvenir items, but step in and you will realize that the beloved Almond Blossom and Sunflower – inspired products are just a fraction of an extensive museum shop collection.
The museum was established in 1973; since then, it was renovated, acquired an additional building, and just recently in September 2015, the new entrance hall was opened to the public. It created an extra 800 square meters that allowed the shop to grow. Naturally, you can find typical souvenirs (postcards, mugs, magnets, pencils, pens) created by in-house designers and exclusive museum collaborations with various Dutch artists.
For many years, visitors have been taking particular interest in local designers, so for the new range of products that were introduced a year ago, Van Gogh Museum allied with celebrated Dutch designers Tord Boontje, Edward van Vliet, Hester van Eegden and Droog design. It also invited young Dutch artists Puik Art, &Klevering and Studio 3.11, all of whom have gained momentum since their items appeared in the museum.
As for working with international designers, Van Gogh Museum noted: “Many designers find their inspiration in Van Gogh paintings and sometimes they create products themselves and contact us. We are always happy if we can find common ground and work together.” We had to ask, if any particular situations or stories were connected to working with international designers: “All products have their own story. But this one is very much particular. Right before the 2015 opening, we received an email from our Chinese partner – candle manufacturer. It so happened that the candle factory burned down (with no injuries) and everything, including measurements and calculations, was lost. We urgently sent the samples and using them our partners reopened the factory and delivered the products in 2 months.” Since there were no injuries recorded and the manufacturer managed to overcome this crisis, we can say that a picture of a burning candle factory seems to be something so Van Gogh-ian!
“All products in the design and exclusive line have special stories behind them. Most are items inspired by paintings and do not represent the replica of a certain work. Some are based on Van Gogh’s letters to his brother; sometimes it is just colors or shapes that remind visitors of Van Gogh. A fun product photographed a lot by our visitors is the bag of organic chips, very literally translated from the painting: potato eaters.”
Dog and cat-lovers ourselves we were happily surprised to see products for our pets. And finally larger dogs are not discriminated against! You can find harnesses for your retriever-sized pet or even buy matching shirts.
If it sounds a little too much, then let us turn your attention to the exclusive line with one-of-a-kind designer objects. Upscale jewelry, top-quality scarfs, handcrafted pottery and even Kimonos created by the celebrated Japanese artist Mamechiyo. Mamechiyo became a pioneer who revived wearing Kimonos every day. The designer is loved all over the world, because she transcends “the boundary between antique and modern” and “the boundary between Japanese style and Western style.” The Kimono presented in Van Gogh Museum is inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s “Plum Tree” that was in turn, inspired by Japanese prints that the artist collected. The Kimonos in Van Gogh Museum are produced in Japan based on the ancient traditions of silk printing and manufacturing.
A line of products is created for every exhibition; the most popular items stay in the shop, such as gardening instruments and bicycle bells. And again, these products are so Van Gogh-ian, so Dutch! Beautiful pieces from the Van Gogh Museum will remind us of the time spent in Amsterdam and will inspire to ride a bike, set our own garden and, of course, fall in love with the great Vincent Van Gogh again and again.