Whereas the Dutch show at the 2014 Venice Biennale of Architecture highlighted the public facets of the architect Jaap Bakema (1914-1981), in Rotterdam the attention was turned towards the private life of Bakema and his creative collaboration with his wife and artist Sia Bakema (1919-2006).
In this small exhibition, the working and living environment of Bakema was portrayed. On show were tapestries and mosaics made by Sia. She was for many years an advisor to the office of Van den Broek and Bakema regarding the use of color in the architecture of the office. Her mosaic designs were developed in the same context.
Between Jaap and Sia there was a lively exchange of visions and ideas, about architecture, art and society. Works by Jaap Bakema on the show included some of his furniture designs developed during his career at Van den Broek and Bakema, and also in his early years of individual practice. A desk with a cupboard from 1948, the same model that Bakema owned, was exhibited. On that desk, the architect wrote many of his articles and lectures for TU Delft. On display are also excerpts from his diaries. Jaap Bakema also made films that show how architecture and habitat were central his own family life.
The exhibition was developed in close cooperation with Brita Bakema, daughter of Jaap Bakema and Sia. On the occasion of both exhibitions, her publication Jaap Bakema and Sia: Habitat was released. The book is available at the bookstore of Het Nieuwe Instituut.
The exhibition was opened by Frans Hooykaas, a former employee of Van den Broek and Bakema and assistant of Jaap Bakema.