PARIS — Antwerp’s ModeMuseum, known as MoMu, is closing its doors for two years for a renovation and expansion that will allow it to host a permanent exhibition of Belgian design, alongside its rotating selection of temporary shows.
Local architecture firm B-architecten has been charged with optimizing the existing infrastructure while respecting the design by Marie-José Van Hee originally unveiled in 2002, including the venue’s spacious entrance hall and its sculptural wooden staircase.
The project will add 8,600 square feet of exhibition space, including an auditorium and a show space for MoMu’s own collection, said Luk Lemmens, chairman of De Museumstichting, which groups together Antwerp museums including MoMu.
“These will ensure that visitors can also visit MoMu while thematic exhibitions are being changed, and that during peak times we can simultaneously display three different fashion stories,” he said in a statement. There are also plans for a museum shop and café.
Kaat Debo, director of MoMu, noted the institution is used to working closely with designers on immersive exhibitions of their work, such as the “Olivier Theyskens — She Walks in Beauty” retrospective, which closed on Sunday. Until now, the museum hasn’t had the space to show its permanent collection, which is made up of around 33,000 objects,.
“Once the renovations are complete in 2020, we will be presenting the story of Belgian fashion on a permanent basis and giving our visitors a deeper look into our own world-renowned fashion history,” she said.
The permanent exhibition will include the story of the Antwerp Six, a group of designers who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980 and 1981, comprised of Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee.
The museum’s library, which contains more than 15,000 books, as well as hundreds of contemporary and historic magazines and a digital database of images, will be expanded to house its study collection, made up of historical, contemporary and ethnic clothing, fragments and samples.
The building’s depots and restoration studios will be completely renewed, with the aim of stocking the collections and archives under the best possible conditions. While it is undergoing renovation, MoMu will partner with other institutions on temporary exhibitions.
“MoMu has the largest collection of Belgian fashion on the planet. During the closure, you can still enjoy these pieces in Belgium and elsewhere in the world. This year, we are lending works to MoMA in New York, Vitra Design Museum in Germany and Världskulturmuseet in Sweden, among others,” Lemmens said.
“Margiela: The Hermès Years,” which opened at the museum in March 2017, can be seen at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where it will remain on show until September 2018.
Also in September, the Maurice Verbaet Center in Antwerp will host the exhibition “Soft? Tactile Dialogues” featuring the work of Belgian textile artists from the Seventies and Eighties alongside contemporary art works in textiles.