WAALWIJK – SLEM – the Shoe Leather Education Museum – is a newly-completed project in Waalwijk, a fairly quiet municipality with a strong footwear industry heritage in the south of the Netherlands. It gives the education centre of the same name a strengthened global visual identity, while delivering tangible social, economic and environmental benefits to the local community.

Rotterdam-based architectural practice Doepel Strijkers, carried out the transformation of Waalwijk’s former city hall, making it particularly fitting to host a new – and completely different programme. Accommodating considerable exhibition, meeting and working spaces, the project brings about playful, yet engaging design solutions that skillfully complement the building’s character and convey a sense of spatial openness and versatility.

The interior was stripped down to its bare essentials, creating a free-flowing sequence of spaces, flooded with natural light. The use of a bold, monochromatic colour scheme explicitly communicates SLEM’s identity, works as a means of way-finding and ensures that each area within the building works with one another to create a unified whole. The project also combines with its contemporary flair, antique finds and reclaimed furniture, recalling the building’s previous purposes.

Photos Teo Krijgsman