August 31, 2019, Naturalis opened its new biological museum and research center in Leiden, the result of a collaboration between Neutelings Riedijk Architects and Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen
September 2, 2019
The new Naturalis Biodiversity Center, which combines the functions of a museum and a research center, houses about 42 million exhibits – this is the fifth collection in the world, housed in nine rooms. In addition, there are scientific laboratories and modern experimental equipment that allow for research and educational programs.
The building of the center was designed by the Dutch architectural bureau Neutelings Riedijk Architects together with the Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen (Iris van Herpen) .
Iris has been collaborating with architects for a long time on her fashion collections. Her 2011 couture collection, created in collaboration with architect Daniel Widrig, is still one of the brightest examples of how new technologies (3D printing and computer modeling) can change the face of the modern fashion industry and challenge traditional methods. production.
Couture collection Escapism by Iris van herpen. Photographer Duy Quoc Vo. Stylist Sonny Groo.
In this project, voluminous, biomorphic slabs adorn the facades and interiors of the building. To create them, a special technology was developed: 263 panels were cast from handmade concrete with the addition of fine white marble chips, as a result of which they got a particularly effective texture, reminiscent of petrified fabric.
In fact, working on large-scale “ribbons” stretching for more than a kilometer, encircling the building from the outside and continuing inside, the designer drew inspiration from the museum's rich collection of fossils and volcanic stones. “The unique collection of Naturalis and the infinite freedom of the frozen forms that I discovered in the museum's archive inspired me to transfer their design to the building itself, using stone instead of my usual silk. Three-dimensional biomorphic ornaments envelop the museum from the outside, like a dress,” says Iris.
“We invited Iris van Herpen to gave the topic of biodiversity a new, futuristic sound, blurring the boundaries between architecture, fashion, science and technology,” says architect Michiel Riedijk.