De Ploeg by Gerrit Rietveld
The design of Rietveld's de Ploeg
When Rietveld designed the De Ploeg building in the late 1950s, it was the first industrial space he had ever tried his hand at. But that didn’t keep him from attempting something very special. Until today, the characteristic shape of the former textile factory, with curved shells forming a sawtooth-patterned roof, really stands out – also helping to flood the interior with natural light. The building and the beautiful surrounding park, designed by the renowned landscape architect Mien Ruys, were created in line with the social principles of the textile company – the business had its roots in a socialist cooperative. According to the wishes of the factory owners, both building and park had to be pleasant places where employees would enjoy spending their time. Now visitors can enjoy it too, as part of an official ‘Rietveld Safari’, or just by strolling or cycling along at their own pace. Top tip for families: there’s mini golf too!
De Ploeg visitors' centre
The De Ploeg building is now home to the specialist design firm Bruns. However, a visitors’ centre, located at the front side of the building, is open to the public from April 2017. The entire building is newly renovated whilst staying entirely true to Rietveld’s original design. Its interior has gained some 21st-century touches through contemporary art and technology – including some Dutch Design elements by Aart van Asseldonk – but it follows on seamlessly from Rietveld’s ideals of clarity and precision. The visitors’ centre is home to a permanent exhibition about the history of the building, as well as changing art exhibitions throughout the year, and you are invited to explore the entire exterior of the factory, as well as the park.
Rietveld Safari and walk
De Ploeg is not an isolated attraction: there is a lot to do in the Dutch Design district, especially for fans of Rietveld and other Dutch designers. In Bergeijk itself, renowned as the Rietveld municipality, De Ploeg is part of a Rietveld-themed walk, as well as the so-called ‘Rietveld Safari’, which takes in a number of designs and creations by the famous architect. Embrace an augmented reality experience via your smartphone, or stop off at the local tourist information office (VVV) to pick up a walking route. Then you can enjoy a peaceful stroll to find beautiful examples of his and Mien Ruys’ work throughout the picturesque region.