Big chance you’ll miss this touch of genius when you’re in the main shopping area of the centre. Probably most of the locals don’t know the story behind the Bijenkorf facade either and especially without this story they can’t really appreciate the closed box which houses the department store. But for me this is actually one of the most brilliant facade designs you can imagine. Designed in the early 50s by Hungarian-American architect Marcel Breuer (one of the famous Bauhaus ascendents) and still very contemporary I would say.
What you see here is a pattern of hexagonal honeycomb-shaped travertine panels. No coincidence since Bijenkorf is Dutch for beehive. All panels are chiseled in such a way that they have an influence on the direction of the run-off rainwater and the dirt in the air which comes with that. After sixty years a totally unique pattern is created by exhaust gases and rain.
Next to the Bijenkorf stands a flower-shaped sculpture of Russian constructivist sculptor Naum Gabo, simply called The Thing. Another great artwork, but in questionable condition. Let’s hope it will stand the test of time like the Bijenkorf facade does.