Declutter the entrance areas so that museum visitors can find their way in comfort and style.
Improved circulation and efficient routing
Increased visitor comfort
Better retail presentation
Clearer connection with courtyard
Enhanced qualities: human scale, welcoming, accessible
Founded over 150 years ago, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem specializes in works from the golden age of Dutch painting in the 17th century. The museum occupies an almshouse that encloses a Dutch ‘hof’, or courtyard. Over the years, successive alterations and additions had cluttered up the museum, leaving many of its spaces inadequate to their function.
As a part of a major overhaul of the entire museum, CE landed the commission to tackle the entrance area, consisting of the foyer, cloakroom and shop.
Foyer, cloakroom, shop
Visitor circulation is improved by separating the ticket sales from the shop. The new foyer features two freestanding elements, an inviting sofa and a compact desk. Visitors then cross to the bright and spacious cloakroom.
The last space on the visitor route through the museum is the shop. Wall-mounted displays for books and postcards combine with presentation islands made up of tables of varying size and height that slide in and out of one another to form different configurations
Visitors cross to the bright and spacious cloakroom
Light and shade
In the redesign, CE drew inspiration from the contrast between light and shade that is a feature of paintings from the golden age. The colour palette is divided into two groups. The darker tones of the ticket desk and overhead lighting fixture contrast with the white of the walls and attached display units for brochures and audio tours. Similarly, the black floor of the cloakroom is offset by the broken white of the stacked lockers.
The colour scheme is enriched by combinations of materials, such as the hard ceramic, soft linoleum and textured MDF sheets of the ticket desk.
Arched doorways in the existing building are echoed in the rounded corners of the new seating elements
Paintings of Dutch domestic interiors often feature views through openings into courtyards flooded with daylight. They find a new interpretation in the visual connections from the foyer into the corridor and, beyond that, the cloakroom.
A similar layering of spaces occurs in the view from the shop into the cobbled entranceway and into the foyer. Arched doorways in the existing building are echoed in the rounded corners of the new seating elements, the ticket desk in the foyer and sales counter in the shop.
Focus on art
Throughout the entrance area, CE has succeeded in clearing away the clutter and creating a sense of calmness, turning the focus on the art on display, enhancing the spatial qualities of the monumental building, and improving the museum experience for visitors.