Van Nelle Factory Rotterdam

Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam


Revolutionary tobacco factory

The Van Nelle factory was designed by the architects Brinkman and Van der Vlugt and was built in 1928. The architect Leendert Van der Vlugt also designed the Sonneveld House, which is now part of the architecture museum The New Institute in Rotterdam. The State-of-the-art Van Nelle factory was a real sensation, because of the modernist architecture, closely related to the Bauhaus. The glass conveyor belts on which coffee, tea and tobacco was transported from the warehouses to the factory are characteristic for the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam.

Van Nelle: Modernist Architecture

Characteristic of pre-war modernism is the functional design: form follows function. The curved and transparent facade of the Van Nelle factory provided the management with a great overview on the factory site. Van Nelle's technical installations were so advanced that all pipes and consoles were displayed at visible locations, whereas normally installations were 'hidden' in separate areas. The use of reinforced concrete was new those days. Due to this technique, the Van Nelle factory floors could remain relatively thin and concrete piles could be driven in under its foundation. The Van Nelle Factory was exclusively designed with straight lines, except for the observation deck. This round observation deck on the roof of the Van Nelle factory is called the bonbonniere, a place where distinguished guests were welcomed. The furniture and lights were made by Dutch designer Gispen. Due to its pioneering design, the Van Nelle factory is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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