Visitors in the museum, photo: Diewke van den Heuvel
In order to retain its (inter)national position at the forefront of textile art, fashion and design, and to serve a larger and wider audience, the TextielMuseum needs to innovate. This means looking beyond its own offering. The new vision for the future aims to position the TextielMuseum as a driving force in the Museum Quarter, bringing together partners, makers, the municipality and local community to create a place where everyone can discover, make, learn and meet.
Textiles then and now
Textiles make up the fabric of Tilburg’s history, as the city’s many former textile factories attest. On the Mommers and Dröge complex, the TextielMuseum’s home and once the centre of the textile industry, the museum wants to breathe new life into the hidden heritage and stories of the past and connect these with the cultural and innovative power of contemporary makers. The museum’s vision for the future includes the further development of the TextielLab for professionals as well as the general public, a makers lab for families and a new interactive presentation about the history of the textile industry. With an updated programme focused on sustainability, innovation and craftsmanship, the museum wants to attract 100,000 visitors and users a year. It aims to achieve this by continuing to appeal to its current audience while engaging a wider and younger public with textiles.
Interactive weaving installation in the ‘Bauhaus&’ exhibition, photo: Tommy de Lange
Discover what textiles can do
In the TextielMuseum of the future, making and creating will be at the centre of everything we do. Plans are underway to update the TextielLab – the museum’s professional workshop – to ensure it remains the ideal working environment for artists and designers. In the Design Studio, which is due to open in September 2020, visitors will be able to design their own knitwear. In addition, the museum aims to open a makers lab where families and school groups can learn about sustainability, for example by making new products from recycled textiles. The multi-sensory presentation ‘The wonderful world of textiles’ will introduce visitors to textiles’ countless applications – from innovative sneakers to textile veins for medical use – while the new interactive presentation ‘Making in the past’ will contextualise the textile industry’s long history.
Makers’ hub of the city
The museum wants to realise the envisioned transformation of the Mommers and Dröge complex into a creative hub in collaboration with partners and the municipality. The vacant Dröge building offers an excellent opportunity for partners to have a physical presence on the site, generating new ways to address current themes such as circularity. The diversity of occupants will make the complex more attractive and dynamic for visitors, local residents and professionals. The transformation will also support the municipality’s investment in Tilburg as a ‘city of makers’, in a way that perfectly aligns with the original function of the site: a place where activity, creativity and craftsmanship meet.
Visualization ‘Makers’ hub of the city’, from: Vision for the future TextielMuseum 2020-2024
Visualising the potential
To help visualise the potential of this dynamic and lively place, the museum asked architectural firm UNstudio to develop an initial design. This shows how, in addition to realising our ambitions – growth, redevelopment and new premises for our partners – the Mommers and Dröge complex can be opened up to the surrounding neighbourhood, for example by introducing roof gardens and courtyards and breaking through the closed facades. Moreover, UNstudio’s design shows the potential for eye-catching, surprising architectural additions to the buildings that perfectly match the city’s new impetus and ambition, following the success of the Piushaven and Spoorzone areas. ‘We couldn’t conceive of a more suitable new repurposing of the complex,’ said Van de Werdt.
Spatial exploration Mommers- and Dröge complex (sketch), from: Vision for the future TextielMuseum 2020-2024
Realising the vision
Making the TextielMuseum’s vision for the future a reality will require a combined effort by the museum, municipality and other (financial) partners. The municipality and museum will explore the options this year, in line with the ambition the municipality has with the Museum Quarter. An application will be submitted to the government’s cultural subsidy scheme for the period 2021-2024, to include the TextielLab in the cultural Basic Infrastructure as a development institution, which can provide a solid basis for the realisation of the vision for the future.