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Marcel Wanders and Studio Job create inflatable installations for BlowUp Art The Hague

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Silver eggs and a giant floating pot are among the inflatables installed outside the Dutch parliament in The Hague as part of this year’s BlowUp Art The Hague festival.

For the third edition of the annual event, which runs until 2 June, curator Mary Hessing of WOTH Studio asked the studios of four Dutch designers – Marcel WandersJob SmeetsMieke Meijer and Sigrid Calon – to create temporary inflatable artworks.

Temporary inflatable artworks have been installed on the Hofvijver lake

The sculptures are set on a pontoon in the Hofvijver lake, which is lined with important buildings including the Mauritshuis art museum and the Binnenhof buildings housing the Dutch government.

Previous editions of BlowUp Art The Hague have invited audiences to conduct a self-guided walking tour to take in sculptures installed at significant sites around the city.

Mieke Meijer installation for BlowUp Art The Hague
The showcase includes inflatable ‘trees’ by Studio Mieke Meijer

This year’s floating sculpture garden aims to highlight the importance of green spaces in cities and was created in collaboration with students from the Urban Green Development programme at Yuverta college in the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The first artwork visitors encounter upon reaching the pontoon is Studio Mieke Meijer’s playful take on an arboretum – aptly titled Airboretum.

Marcel Wanders installation for BlowUp Art The Hague
Egg-shaped inflatables by Marcel Wanders feature in the garden and on the lake

The studio created a series of ‘trees’ with trunks that split into smaller branches and twigs. Two of the trees stand upright while a third lies horizontal as if it was felled.

“Trees in different cultures are metaphors for different topics,” Roy Letterlé of Studio Mieke Meijer explained. “That can be growth, community, nature, all sorts of subjects.”

Gazebo by Sigrid Calon for BlowUp Art The Hague
A candy-pink gazebo references an octagonal tower in the Binnenhof

Natural forms also influenced the work of Marcel Wanders, who created a cluster of egg-shaped inflatables. The majority feature mirrored surfaces that reflect their surroundings, while one is decorated with a colourful pattern.

The eggs seem to touch the ground lightly on their weighted narrow ends and move gently in the wind. Visitors can give them a gentle push, causing them to wobble on the spot without ever tipping over.

The final artwork on the pontoon is Sigrid Calon’s candy-pink Gazebo, which references an octagonal tower in the nearby Binnenhof that was originally built in the 14th century as a summer pavilion and now houses the office of the Dutch prime minister.

The tower’s turret consists of concentric rings that decrease incrementally in size, while the supporting pillars are printed with an illustrative design that emphasises their fluted construction.

Sigrid Calon installation for BlowUp Art The Hague
The pink pavilion was designed by Sigrid Calon

Floating in the lake close to the pontoon is a work by Studio Job titled Like a Pan in Water. The studio’s founder Job Smeets is known for recreating everyday objects as monumental sculptures in materials such as cast bronze or stained glass.

“It’s a golden pan but nobody knows what’s inside,” said Smeets. “The pan floats in the water as some sort of lost relic from an 18th-century interior.”

Floating installation by Studio Job
A floating installation by Studio Job floats close to the pontoon

The pontoon island features planting devised by the Yuverta students following a workshop led by artist Frank Bruggeman and supported by landscape architect Deborah Treep.

The plants and sculptures are arranged around voids that evoke water features in ornamental gardens.

Studio Job installation for BlowUp Art The Hague
It resembles a giant cooking pot

BlowUp Art The Hague is an open-air exhibition curated by Hessing for BinnenhofBuiten, which organises activities during the ongoing renovation of the Binnenhof complex.

Other popular inflatable projects recently published on Dezeen include a gaming chair by IKEA and outdoor furniture that turns into a self-defence device.

The photography is by Ronald Smits.

BlowUp Art The Hague takes place from 9 May to 2 June 2024 in The Hague. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Source: Dezeen

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