’Like Pastoe: 100 years of Design Innovation’ at Kunsthal Rotterdam

An exhibition space with three multi-compartment cabinets, one in wood/brown, one in red and white and one in green and white.
From left: 'Cabinet CB01'; 'U+N cabinet CU06'; and 'Vision Elements Jubilee cabinet', by Cees Braakman, on show at Pastoe's anniversary exhibition at Kunsthal, Rotterdam. Courtesy of Pastoe.
(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

It's hard to believe that the Dutch furniture brand Pastoe turns a momentous 100 this year. With its clean design aesthetic and playful colour theory, the enduring brand continues to stay one step ahead with a bevy of intelligent team-ups with designers like Scholten & Baijings, Shigeru Uchida and Maarten van Severen.

In honour of its big birthday, Pastoe is staging a comprehensive exhibition at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam that reveals some of the secrets behind its longevity. The show, which has been curated by Anne van der Zwagg and author Gert Staal, not only offers an unprecedented look into Pastoe's design archives, but also presents several interior concepts developed with architect Anne Holtrop, and a series of new product propositions from a stellar cast of designers.

Amongst those are heavy-hitters like Konstantin Grcic whose has explored the value of craftwork in an ever-changing future, Naoto Fukusawa, who has reduced the cupboard to its most basic form, and Claudio Silvestrin, who chose to approach furniture simply as objects. There will also be a commemorative book to boot.

And to top off its anniversary celebrations, Pastoe has launched a new rendition of one of its signature storage cabinets, original designed by Pastoes design director Cees Braakman back in 1952, and now available in three new finishes. This is a significant marker in the company's heritage, as it was storage that really set it apart from the pack in the mid 20th century.

Three different style chairs sit in front of a large advertising board in the exhibition space. The ad. board features people sat in different chairs in an auditorium-like room. .

Pieces from the archives are shown alongside vintage advertising material from Pastoe. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

Six different chairs. The three to the left have longer backs whilst the three to the right right are of the same design with no back made from wire.

'Wire' furniture, by Cees Braakman & Adrian Dekker, 1958-59. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

A close-up of multiple piece of card shaped in the way that looks like a 3D building plan.

Architect Anna Holtrop worked with Pastoe to develop a series of interiors concepts for the exhibition

(Image credit: press)

An exhibition space split into various sections, each with their only colour scheme and window and door cutouts.

The show is divided into three themes: 'Archives', 'Environments', and 'Visions'. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

Inside an exhibition area featuring wood stools, a set of shelves in black and a unique shelf storage structure in brown/wood.

The felt pavilion. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

A birch wood multi-compartment cabinet with one compartment door open resting downwards to create a shelf.

The birch wood CB01 cabinet, by Pastoe's former design director Cees Braakman, 1952

(Image credit: press)

A multi-compartment cabinet in bright natural colours - white, light wood brown, green, grey.

Pastoe's in-house design team gave Braakman's midcentury cabinet a contemporary update to coincide with the company's milestone, naming it the 'Jubilee' cabinet

(Image credit: press)

A close-up of a shelf c. 50cm wide with a small divider on top.

Shelf system, by Naoto Fukusawa, 2012, commissioned by Pastoe especially for its anniversary

(Image credit: press)

Two symmetrical shaped stools shaped like an hour glass, posiitoned infront of multiple multi-compartment white cabinets with drawers that have black handles.

'Qbus', by Cees Brakman, 1965. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

A side-on view of a slim leather lounge chair.

'Leather Lounge Chair LL04', by Maarten Van Severen

(Image credit: press)

An archive image of a cabinet making / furniture workshop with three craftsman working.

Archive imagery at the exhibition includes this photograph of the Pastoe factory in Rotsoord, Utrecht, 1952.

(Image credit: Cas Oorthuys)

An archive photo. A close-up of a furniture making installing a draw into a cabinet.

Pastoe still manufactures its furniture in the same factory to this day

(Image credit: press)

A bookshelf with three shelves and two sections. The right section has a downward diagonal top.

'Prospettive', by Claudio Silvestrin, 2012. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

Nine rectangular frames in multiple colours and different sizes.

'Pass Through', by Scheltens & Abbenes, 2012. Courtesy of Pastoe.

(Image credit: Thomas Libiszewski)

Five differing height cabinets with no draws inside.

'Totem', by Vincent Van Duysen, 2010

(Image credit: press)

A black, yellow, white and grey tower structure.

'A'dammer', by Aldo van den Nieuwelaar, 1978

(Image credit: press)


Kunsthal Rotterdam
Westzeedijk 341  
3015 AA Rotterdam


Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.