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For the exhibition Finders KeepersMacGuffin magazine has brought together more than 5000 household objects from over 40 collections in a grande parade of everyday products: from razors to jeans and from ropes to staircases. Inspired by Modest Manifesto for a Museum, in which the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk pleads for a museum in which the story of ordinary people is central, Finders Keepers explores collectors’ stories and their relationship to a world of objects. To coincide with the exhibition, the British architect and design critic Sam Jacob has written an essay about collections and the life of objects: Life Amongst Things. Open from 8 September 2017 until 11 February 2018.

Finders Keepers features (private) collections of extraordinary size and specialization. Collections have been sourced from all over the world. There are collections assembled by artists and designers such as Seth Siegelaub, herman de vries, Peter Marigold, Louise Harpman, Scott Specht and Jason Denham. The British collector Charles Brooking has lent 30 complete staircases, salvaged from houses due for demolition. Brooking and several other collectors are interviewed in a series of video portraits, which show the collections in their usual habitat.


By inviting the editors of MacGuffin to curate Finders Keepers, Het Nieuwe Instituut has opted for an exhibition that is a three-dimensional manifestation of this unique design and crafts magazine. While much of the design world focuses on new trends, the editors of MacGuffin, Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven, find wonder in the ordinariness of the everyday. Their fascination with a timeless aesthetic is also the key to innovative research, which has resulted in thematic issues devoted to the bed, the window, the rope and the sink. Through Finders Keepers they give form to the idea that design is more than the endless conception and making of new products. They believe that finding, ordering and preserving objects are all equally interesting aspects of design practice.

The exhibition is designed by Ira Koers and Roelof Mulder. Sandra Kassenaar, the designer of MacGuffin, is responsible for the exhibition graphics. The fifth issue of MacGuffin magazine will be published in November 2017. Entitled The Cabinet, it explores the relationship between collections and their containers.

Het Nieuwe Instituut as collector

Het Nieuwe Instituut administers one of the world’s most important architecture archives. Since its establishment, Het Nieuwe Instituut has explored many aspects of the phenomenon of the archive: as research resource, as repository for the collective memory and as reference point for questions concerning identity and nationality. Simultaneously, the archive also reflects notions of hierarchy and quality – what do we preserve as a society? – and implicitly reveals that which is left out of the picture.  Several of the projects that the institute has initiated in this respect, including Design Diorama by Studio Makkink & Bey and Studio Rotor: Deconstruction, are presented concurrently with the exhibition in Gallery 2 under the title Archive Interpretations.

Thursday Night Live! 

The discursive programme Thursday Night Live! has developed a series of lectures, reading rooms, film screenings and debates around the theme of collecting in which professions and the public will examine various aspects of Finders Keepers and Archive Interpretations.


You are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibitions Finders Keepers, Archive Interpretations and The Other Architect on Thursday, 7 September 2017 from 17.00. 

Note for editors

For a press preview or an appointment and/or interview with the makers or designers, please contact the Press Office. For more information and/or images, please contact Yev Kravt via email: or telephone: +31 (0) 6 83 67 97 37