Monday, 7 November 2016

Het Schip – Part 2: The Post Office

When the Dutch Post Office at Het Schip closed in 1999 it was converted into a small museum telling the story of the development and the Amsterdam School. The original fixtures and fittings, many of which were designed by architect Michel de Klerk, were mostly preserved in their original locations. The distinctive forms of the telephone kiosk and the blue tiled wall finishes with built-in wooden benches are evidence of de Klerk’s attention to detail. De Klerk designed a door to the inner offices of the Post Office complete with chevron motif and the fist and baton to reinforce the “Verboden”/"No Entry" message. The beautifully finished cabinet for the telephone switchboard (Telefoongel) is especially striking with Art Deco-type elements incorporating stylised electrical sparks to symbolise telecommunications. Equally impressive is the elegant enclosure for the public telephone – at the top left of each window is a bird motif include by de Klerk to remind callers they can easily be overheard. The museum space is an imaginative re-use that preserves the community’s communication hub in close to original condition.

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