This past weekend, The Vintage Showroom took Rotterdam, for the Nieuwe Instituut’s ‘Workwear’ exhibition, which opened on Saturday 25th March. Excitingly, four pieces from The Vintage Showroom archive were exhibited, and Bhavesh and Olivia hopped on the eurostar to see them in their new home for the next few months.

This was the first time the pair had visited the city – and it did not disappoint! As Rotterdam was the country’s main port, it was a big target for Axis bombs in WWII and was largely razed to the ground – evident when walking through its streets of patchwork architectural styles. The Nieuwe Bouwen (which translates to New Building) style the country is known for is smattered throughout, towered by post-war blocks, similar to those seen in London, and hyper-modern skyscrapers. The train station perfectly encapsulates this mish-mash, with its glaring metal-clad facade and curved entrance hall against the original, modernist clock and sans serif sign from the 1950s.

The dutch functionalist architectural style is best shown at Huis Sonneveld, a home built in 1933 for Albertus Sonneveld and his family. The house was restored with the help of the Het Nieuwe Instituut and is now open for tours, exhibiting its simplistic, but bold (and even metallic) interiors, seen in the images above. The architects Brinkman and Van der Vlugt totally coordinated the architecture, interior, and furnishings, even installing clocks and speakers into the walls, in an attempt to ensure the house always feels fresh and never feels aged.

Across the road was the opening of the Workwear exhibition – kicked off by an incredible fashion show, where models stomped down a concrete catwalk wearing modern interpretations of workwear. The exhibition opening was a roaring success with a massive turnout, as it led its attendees through the many ways workwear was can be used; as a functional tool for the wearer, to protect the wearer when performing dangerous tasks, to its current, undeniable presence in contemporary fashion. The Vintage Showroom pieces (along with many other spectacular archival garments) adorned 2D, wooden mannequins with hinged arms and legs. These mannequins cleverly removed the identity of the wearer by simplifying them down to a series of shapes, really demonstrating the function and importance of the workwear, and showing how hard workwear works for you.

The following day, in the few remaining hours, the pair explored other hotspots, such as the ‘Erasmusbrug’, a cable-stayed bridge completed in 1996 that connects the northern and southern parts of the city. Also, the ‘Markthal’ was an incredible example of the hyper-modernist buildings around the city. Its massive glass facade reveals one of the city’s first skyscrapers (built in 1898), which is framed by the Markthal’s 40-metre-high horseshoe of apartments, adorned by artwork by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam.

The Workwear exhibition runs until the 10th of September at the Het Nieuwe Instituut, check out more via their website>>