Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Herford region has been an important location for the manufacture of German furniture and kitchen furniture as well as their supply industries. The idea arose to create a counterpart to this position in the form of a “House of Furniture” service centre. This was the origin of the MARTa project, which started in 1996 and has continued to develop to the present day. The project’s aim is to examine the interplay between art, design, architecture and business and to intensify this by providing new stimuli.

A Museum of Art and Design (permanent collection and changing exhibitions), a centre for expertise and information and a forum for events were created in a spectacular building designed by the American architect Frank Gehry.

With his deconstructivist style, Gehry always creates buildings which are inspired by philosophy, the natural sciences and art, but his buildings also relate to the environment where they are located: in the case of MARTa, red clinker brick is a typical building material of the region. The wave structure of the building reflects both the flowing of the water in the Aa as well as the traffic on Goebenstrasse, which runs alongside the terrain of MARTa .

Jan Hoet, the director of the museum, has already successfully built up a collection of contemporary work by more than 25 artists so that the visitor is given a vision of the interface between art and design. The Karl Kerber collection, with works from the seventies and eighties (by Baselitz, Polke, Richter and Schumacher among others), complements this perfectly.

(Bildnachweis: LWL / H. Gerbaulet)