DING from Hooiaard
Design Museum Gent has been waiting since 1993 for a new wing to complete the site, with extra space for temporary presentations, workshops, lectures and events, space for art handling and logistics, proper sanitary facilities and an elevator. Now the time has come. The plans for the brand new wing DING are ready, the foundation stone will be laid in mid-2023. A project with great and sustainable ambitions, a real bridge between the city, visitors and the design world. In addition to the extra multifunctional space, there will be a museum café, a terrace, a new reception area and a shop. An open and climate-conscious extension, without barriers, where you can drop in for free for a first introduction to the various aspects of design. This means the museum will be closed for a while, but we will use the time to continue digitising our collections and prepare a new collection presentation and collection website. 2026 is the target date for the grand opening of the renovated museum.
A new piece of museum takes some planning. In 2015-16 we started with a volume and feasibility study of the vacant site in Drabstraat. Sogent became the project owner, while the City of Ghent, the Cultural Infrastructure Fund, the Flemish Government and Immovable Heritage provided the necessary funds. Following an Open Call of the Vlaams Bouwmeester to which 96 firms applied, the jury in 2019 chose the project The museum widthwise of TRANS architectuur I stedenbouw (Ghent), Carmody Groarke (London) and RE-ST architectenvennootschap (Antwerp) from among five submissions. This was followed by an intensive process of planning meetings, consultations with the various advisory services, measurements and tours. Our four-metre-high mock-up has been on display in the courtyard since April 2021. With this mock-up we test materials and techniques that will be used in DING and we show the research into a circular facing brick.
We’ve closed for a while. The collection pieces that are on display are carefully stored in museum depots. Fortunately, part of our collection will remain on display at other locations in Belgium and abroad. During the closing period, we will programme ‘extra muros’ in a sustainable and targeted manner. We will work together with other museums, educational institutions and partners and display our collections in other establishments. We will also engage in longer projects with designers. You can see the result in DING when it reopens. The closing period also gives time for experimentation so we can already try out certain things for DING. In the coming years we will also be investing heavily in optimising our collection: making good pictures, supplementing descriptions, clearing rights, collecting your stories. By the opening, you will be able to see half of our collection on our new collection website. In the meantime, keep an eye on the project Collections of Ghent. In three districts of Ghent and in the city centre, visitors will get a chance to discover our collection and make their own contribution.
We were busy doing paperwork until mid 2022: planning application, environmental permit application, plans, blueprints, measurements, etc. In May 2022, we moved the toilet roll to Verbeke Foundation. Project owner sogent then sought and found a contractor. Now it’s time to get to work. Construction has begun. There will be an archaeological survey of the site. We’ll connect the new wing to the rest of the museum, renovate Wing 1992 to meet international standards, and lay out the courtyard. And, of course, we must not forget the brand-new museum café and entrance area in Jan Breydelstraat.
We don’t want to give away too much about the layout of DING just yet. We can already say though that the design of the interiors will be the icing on the cake for DING. We will be working together with Flemish designers for this. Some designers we give a commission, others we select through open calls. Over the next few years, they will be working on design projects involving circular materials, crafts, textiles, knowledge sharing, imagination, humour and research.
New collection & exhibitions
We will already start preparing the new permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. That’s certainly necessary, as the total renovation of Wing 1992 will add 210 m² of functional space per floor. This allows for larger temporary exhibitions to take place on the ground floor and more space for the permanent collection on the first and second floors.
Celebration! The grand opening is planned for 2026, and everyone is welcome! Whether you just want to enjoy the panorama, quickly pick up a few new things about design or delve deeper into the collection, everyone is welcome at DING. And we really mean everybody: the whole site is accessible for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair users thanks to the new elevator. After many years, the museum has decent sanitary facilities and proper rooms for workshops and education. The best place for lectures or debates and the ideal gateway to the rest of the museum, where there is even more space for the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Be sure to keep an eye on our channels for an official date.