Marta Herford – Idea & Concept
Marta Herford was established to make use of the diverse potential of the East Westphalian region and to give impulses for future developments.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Herford has developed into a location well known for its furniture and clothing industry. The Herford region is home to 20 percent of German furniture and 60 percent of German kitchen furniture production. An equally strong supply industry complements Europe’s most attractive furniture hub. Two trade fairs, Möbelordermesse (MOW) and Ordermesse der Zuliefererindustrie (ZOW), are globally renowned forums and mood indicators in the sector.
In 1996, this highly productive and internationally networked structure led politicians and administration managers in the region to consider taking advantage of possible synergy effects. The basic idea was to combine expertise, an event forum and museum work in one building complex as a joint project. Thus was born the idea and name of Marta Herford in late 2000.
The three programmatic points of art, design and architecture did justice to both the city’s rich history of art and architecture and its development into an important business hub of the textile and furniture industry. Furthermore, specific reference was made to the history of Herford by giving the new museum center a female first name: Thanks to the abbey, it was an influential imperial free city in the Middle Ages and was known as the “city of strong women”.
Finally, it was the commissioning of Frank Gehry as architect and of Jan Hoet as founding director that pointed the project in the right direction. The ideas of the two world-famous figures led to the strengthening of the concept for a center through the activities of a contemporary art museum and fundamental design issues. Marta Herford’s official opening on May 7, 2005 received a great deal of public attention. Since the beginning of 2009, the exhibition organizer and Museum Director Roland Nachtigäller has presented a diverse program combining contemporary art, architectural history and basic questions addressing the field of design and its interactions with other art genres.
Today, Marta Herford is considered an open space in which things that seem to be a given can become alien and things that have until now belonged to the future can become part of the present. Marta Herford enables different, surprising and extended perspectives which create an awareness of aesthetic and social changes in society.
Many want to be different, Marta Herford is different.