Immersive interior for jeugdtheater hofplein

  • Title
    • Jeugdtheater Hofplein
  • Artist
    • Arttenders x Corriette Schoenaerts
  • Client
    • Stichting Jeugdtheater Hofplein
  • Location
    • Rotterdam
  • photography
    • Pim Top

In honor of the 35th birthday of Jeugdtheater Hofplein, we took the wish for new chairs and carpeting as a starting point to turn the theater into a total immersive experience. Our creative approach reinforces the vision and mission of the theatre: verbeeld, verrijk, verwonder (imagine, enrich, amaze). This way, Jeugdtheater Hofplein responds to the contemporary perception of the young target group and also wants to amaze and inspire potential tenants.

The result of our approach? In close collaboration with Rotterdam artist Corriette Schoenaerts we made a captivating total artwork that takes over the entire hall.



A tribute to Appel and Maaskant

The Hofpleintheater is one of a kind. It is located in a building by the famous Rotterdam architect Hugh Maaskant, where a huge artwork by Karel Appel adorns the facade. The glass and concrete relief creates a breathtaking play of light when the sun shines inside the foyer. At night, the work is illuminated from the inside for passers-by on the square to enjoy.

Karel Appel's striking glass-in-concrete sculpture contrasts with the sleek lines of Maaskant's architecture. Whimsical shapes refer to the eyes, ears and mouths of children who find their way in the original school building.

Centrally located above the entrance of the building, the colorful artwork undoubtedly contributes to the experience of the interior of the foyer, the staircase and the entresol. The abstract shapes and primary colors play a game with the light and thus also with the perception of the space.

It goes without saying that, from the start, we wished to cherish this unique combination of art and architecture. In our collaboration with artist Corriette Schoenaerts, we took Maaskants use of materials and Appels primary colors as a starting point for the overall interior design.

The canvas we've been working on includes a variety of textures and surfaces: from the carpets of the auditorium, entresol to the stairs and the theatre chairs.


A visit to the theater starts as soon as you step inside the building and enter a world of imagination. The theater is a place in between fantasy and reality, interior and exterior, day and night. Jeugdtheater Hofplein strives to be an unforgettable scenery of wonder for young theater enthusiasts, with a photogenic appeal to other target groups as well.

The design is all about amazement and almost literally sweeps the audience of their feet, as it conjures up the illusion of flying in a changing sky.

We created some kind of wonderful world in which the apparent contrast between the heavy, monolithic use of materials of the Maaskant architecture and the organic, abstract formal language of the work of Karel Appel forms the basis for a colorful, playful and engaging design that evokes a place where everything is possible.

The amazement and fantasy of the audience will be fully appealed to by the immersive character of the total artwork.

As a visitor, you land in multicolored chairs that have eyes and ears, just as during performances you only need your ability to see and hear to be captivated by the performance on stage. It will inspire people of all ages and respond to a feeling that anything is possible.



starry night

The walls and floors are covered with a design that evolves from a clear blue sky with snowy white clouds in the foyer to a dreamy starry sky in the theater auditorium.

In this changing firmament, visitors come across huge, abstract elements that refer to rocks, molecules and other organic materials.

Some elements will be interpreted by the audience as soft and light, while others as hard and massive. In these contrasts lies a reference to the contrast between the robust materials and bombastic architecture of Maaskant on the one hand and the organic forms of Appel on the other.

References to the artwork are also found in the color scheme of the floating objects. On the entresol, we have chosen not to display these colors too distinctly, so that all attention is focused on the play of light that shines through the colored windows. As a result, the viewer's gaze is automatically drawn to the relief.

a Functional artwork

The choice of a dark, starry sky on the carpet in the auditorium stems from practical considerations, namely the technical requirements for light and acoustics. The same applies to the walls, which are supposed to be light-absorbing.

Finally, there are 496 chairs on which the Rotterdam youth discovers theater performances. The colorfulness of the auditorium as it was designed by Albert Diederik in the nineties has been translated into a motley collection of prints.

Corriette Schoenaerts has added quirky surprise elements to the folding chairs: eyes and ears in different colors convey the diversity of the city and the inclusiveness of the theater. Plus the message that the theater is a place where you keep ears and eyes alive.


Corriette Schoenaerts, Siobhan Burger (arttenders), Caroline Pietermaat and Audrey Janssen (Jeugdtheater hofplein) in the new seats.