11/06/2019

TOMADO at the Stedelijk Museum

In December 2017 the basement of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, one of the most popular museums in the Netherlands, was restyled by Rem Koolhaas, a famous Dutch architect. Artworks from Piet Mondrian and Jeff Koons were exhibited next to more daily use products from 1880 till present day, a real mixture of all kinds of artworks. According to the journalist of a national newspaper, the museum even exhibited an original Tomado shelf.

As soon as Pieter and Vasso Van Sprang (owners of the TOMADO brand) read the article, they got very excited. Almost immediately Vasso went to check out the Tomado shelf exhibited at the museum and took some photos of the exposition. It turned out to be a lookalike of a Tomado shelf, a shelf made by another company in similar retro colors. The journalist had made a mistake.

Shortly after this discovery, Pieter sent a letter to the CEO of the Stedelijk Museum about the misunderstanding, informing that if they wished, an original Tomado shelf was available to be donated. After a visit from curators of the Stedelijk to Tomado’s office where pictures were taken, questions about the Tomado brand were answered, everything necessary ensured to make sure that no more mistakes were made. The two gentlemen Van Sprang got the green light to donate the original shelving system.

A few months later a large red armored truck arrived at Tomado’s office to pick up the shelves. The kind of sturdy truck used to transport safely artworks from internationally known artists like Picasso or Van Gogh. At that moment father and son became aware that the antique shelf had just become a unique museum piece and therefore worthy to receive the same royal treatment as any masterpiece.

A few weeks later Pieter and Vasso were invited by the Stedelijk Museum to come and see the exhibition. They noticed how the curators of the museum not only did a very good job in the way of exhibiting it, but also had chosen a very good spot in the museum that no-one would miss.

During the presentation, Pieter wanted to point out something on the shelves, but the museum guards immediately warned Pieter that he couldn’t touch the item anymore. It was now part of the official collection of the museum and clearly protected by a cord barrier. That made them realize that they can be very proud of their Tomado brand!

Vasso and Pieter Van Sprang next to the original TOMADO shelves