Until 1 July 2013 Brandts was home to three independent institutions: The Media Museum, The Museum of Photography and Kunsthallen Brandts. On 1 July Kunsthallen Brandts, The Museum of Photography and the Funen Art Museum merged into one big art museum. New director at Brandts is art historian Mads Damsbo.
In 1977, the more than a century-old Brandts Klædefabrik closed, and the buildings stood empty until 1982. In 1981, two merchants from Jutland purchased the textile mill.
In 1982, by agreement with the Odense municipality, the two merchants from Jutland financed the renovation of the public part. The municipality was given the option of purchasing parts of the large exhibition building – an option used in 1995, when it acquired the public area of the building complex.
The cultural institution now named Brandts was founded in 1987 in an old industrial building complex under the name of Brandts Klædefabrik (Brandt’s Textile Mill) as Denmark’s first international centre of art and culture. Today, Brandts also houses an Educational Centre, specializing in combining art and education, and Brandts Butik, the only art bookstore on the island of Funen.
In 2005, the cultural institution changed its name from Brandts Klædefabrik to Brandts. There were two main reasons for this name change. First of all, Brandts wanted to distinguish itself as an independent part of the larger Brandts Klædefabrik complex, comprising the former industrial site and all of its buildings. Secondly, the three institutions at Brandts – Kunsthallen Brandts, Museet for Fotokunst and Mediemuseet – wanted to combine their strength and unite under a common brand name.
In May 2000, Brandts Klædefabrik (now Brandts) announced an open competition for the design of a long-wished-for expansion of the institution. The winner was the architect firm Kjaer & Richter A/S, On 17 December 2002, the first sod was cut, and on 25 August, 2005, the new buildings were inaugurated by the Danish Minister of Culture, at that time, Brian Mikkelsen.
In addition to the two new buildings, a new main entrance has been built. The square facing Grønnegade has been renovated and is now called Brandts Torv (Brandt’s Square). It leads into Brandt’s new main entrance and was designed by Torben Schønherr. The tiles covering the square are of Indian granite, laid in a special, hexagonal pattern composed of seven tiles with no right angles. The tiles are interlocked to withstand the pressure of heavy wheels.
Inside the new entrance, a beautiful foyer with a ticket office has been built, offering direct access to Brandts Butik. The floor in the foyer is covered with the same tiles as the square outside, which makes the covering resemble a carpet running under the building.
In connection with the renovation, the former administrative offices of Kunsthallen Brandts have been converted to an Educational Centre with three workshops: a media workshop, a photo workshop, and an art workshop.
The Educational Centre opened in April 2005.
Brandts also has a new auditorium with a seating capacity of 100 people
For further reading on Brandts Klædefabrik from 1744-1977
For further rading on Brandts Klædefabrik from 1977-1987